Falklands to negotiate OWN DEAL with EU after Brexit to regulate fishing - separate to UK
The government of the British overseas territory wants to create an “independent” agreement from the one it has with the UK, with 24 Spanish-flag Galician boats worried they will have to leave the fishing area. Teslyn Barkman, the head of the Department of Natural Resources and the territory's Brexit preparations, told Penguin News the Falklands will need to negotiate a future relationship with the EU independently of the UK. Despite British talks for a deal with the EU still underway, Ms Barkman is optimistic that UK’s future relationship with Brussels will likely include framework on which negotiations with the Falklands can proceed.
The Falklands’ current relationship with the European Union is separate to the UK’s and is governed by the bloc’s Overseas Association Decision (OAD).
This outlines the relationship between the EU and all of its overseas territories in a number of areas.
The Falklands currently benefits from tariff-free trade with the EU through the OAD.
The islands' trading relationship with the UK also falls under the OAD, meaning it will also need to re-establish its trading relationship with Britain when Brexit happens.
Ms Barkman believes this will be straightforward, highlighting the importance of a smooth transition to the meat sector in particular, with more than two-thirds of the Falklands’ meat exports going to the UK.
She said: “We’ve had the assurance that it’s going to be completely seamless.”
Ms Barkman added fresh advice by the UK Government showed a no deal Brexit could see the UK forced to trade under World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules, which would impose trade tariffs starting at six percent up to 20 percent.
She conceded the relationship the UK and Falklands shares with the EU post-Brexit might not be the same, but warned any tariffs would hit Loligo exports to the EU.
Ms Barkman said: “We have modelled what it would mean for our industry if there was a six percent tariff, if there was a 20 percent, and everything in between.”
“Either way we have to rebuild our relationship with the EU, hopefully we can develop that in a way that’s mutually beneficial
Michael Ledwith, managing director of the Falkland Islands Meat Company, warned continued uncertainty surrounding Brexit means “it’s not at all easy to sell product at the moment.
He told Penguin News negotiations can only proceed once there is more clarity on Britain’s departure from the EU.
Mr Ledwith said: “Making a success of the Island’s meat industry needs quality, consistency, and timely supply.
“So, our farmers should not for one moment divert their efforts away from a high quality, bigger numbers ambition.”