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Making money in the new EU

The Norwegian oil and gas exporters can be pleased by the new expanded EEA agreement, but the fishing industry may be forced to take a step back.

In connection with the expansion of the EU May 1, the European Economic Area agreement (EEA) was expanded as well. As a result, Norwegian industry get the same access to the 25 membership countries in EU as the membership countries themselves, reports the Norwegian television channel NRK.

The oil and gas industry can be particularly pleased by this access. Norwegian gas exporters have today a market share of between 12 and 14 percent in EU, equalling to about 70 billion cubic meter gas.

«In volume, the export to EU can be expanded up to 100 billion cubic meter gas annually,» said Frode Bøhm at Oljeindustriens landsforening, the organization representing the Norwegian oil industry, to NRK.

Increased duty on fish
For the fishing industry, however, the future does not appear as bright. While Norwegian fish exporters until now have benefited from free trade with the ten new members, the new expansion brings along a number of tariff barriers on Norwegian fish.

According to the Confederation of Norwegian business and industry (NHO), it is not impossible that Norwegian fish, and then particularly Norwegian herring, will be facing tariff barriers up to 20 percent, while EU’s own fishing industry will get duty free access to the new members on the inner market.

«For us, this would mean that the market access will be turned back 10 to 15 years,» said Kristin Alnes at Fiskeri- og Havbruksnæringens Landsforening, to NRK.

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