Vi har gleden av og formidle nyttårshilsen til Virkes medlemsbesbedrifter fra Storbritannias ambassadør til Norge.
Brexit bidrar til usikkerhet for næringslivet. Storbritannia er Norges nest største handelspartner etter EU, og Virke ønsker at en fremtidig handelsavtale mellom Norge og Storbritannia skal ligge så tett opptil EØS-avtalen som mulig.
Samtidig er EØS-avtalen er uten sammenlikning Norges viktigste handelsavtale; Virke er derfor opptatt av å bevare EØS-avtalen med EU. Virke samarbeider tett med den britisk ambassaden i Oslo for og legge til rette for dette.
Britain's departure from the european union
In 2017 the biggest item on the agenda of the British Embassy in Norway is United Kingdom's departure from the European Union, and what this will mean for the future of our very important relationship with Norway. Although there is much that is not yet known, there is some important certainty shaping the framework.
Britain will be leaving the European Union, but until we leave we remain a full Member State
Some have wondered whether the UK will actually leave the EU. So it is worth re-stating that the government led by Prime Minister Theresa May is determined to deliver on the outcome of the 23rd June referendum. The departure process will take time, and until we leave the UK will continue to be a full Member State, with all the rights and obligations.
Although Britain will leave the EU, we shall not leave Europe
The UK will remain an important contributor to the security, prosperity and well-being of the European continent.
The UK will seek the best possible arrangements for British companies to trade with, and operate in, the Single Market of the European Union, and for European companies to have the same arrangements in respect of the UK
We want a mature, cooperative relationship of the kind which friends and allies enjoy, and where business can continue to contribute to prosperity, profitably and employment.
The commercial links between Norway and the UK are substantial, and we shall take great care to ensure new arrangements will allow for continued growth in trade and investment
Bilateral trade was worth £20 billion last year, and we see plenty of potential for growth in both trade and investment. We shall need new arrangements, and much detail will depend on the UK's future arrangements with the EU single market, because of Norway's membership of the European Economic Area (EEA). To enable us to prepare well for negotiating new arrangements at the appropriate time, we have started a trade policy dialogue.
The British government is committed to ensuring that the United Kingdom continues to be an environment where business and international companies can thrive and innovate
Thanks to the contribution of business, the UK is the fifth largest economy in the world, and the British government is acting to ensure the it remains an environment where entrepreneurship and innovation can thrive. Corporation tax will be cut to 17% by 2020, and there will be major investments in infrastructure and productivity. We want international companies to feel at home in Britain, includingNorwegian ones.
The British government is approaching the period ahead with realism and optimism
This will probably be the biggest negotiation and change programme in half a century. The British government has organised for it, with new government departments. The economic fundamentals of the UK are strong, and we are well placed to deal with the challenges, and take advantage of the opportunities. We expect give and take in the negotiations, and have factored in that there may be some adjustment as the economy responds to the negotiations. We start from a position of strength as the second largest economy in Europe, and the economy is resilient. As well as new arrangements with the EU, we shall seize the chance for new trade agreements with countries around the world. We have been encouraged by the interest shown by many governments, and by the investment decisions taken by many overseas firms since June.
Smooth transition and minimising disruption are important priorities
The British government intends to introduce legislation to convert the body of EU law into British law. This will provide maximum legal certainty, and continuity.
Article 50 will be triggered before the end of March
The British government needs time to prepare for our departure from the EU. It is for the UK to decide when to trigger the departure process, and we will not delay unduly. The timeframe set by the Prime Minister provides an important indication of when we expect to be ready to begin formal negotiations.
The UK will seek an agreement that respects the mandate of the referendum, and creates the right opportunities for the future relationship between Britain and the EU
The UK is likely to have its own form of relationship with the EU rather than one based on an existing model. The circumstances of countries like Norway or Switzerland are different from the UK's.
The world is full of exciting opportunities, and we want to understand how to maximise them
To help our understanding we are engaging with important stakeholders, including business. I am very grateful for the way in which companies in Norway have responded. Working together we can make the future a bright one.
I look forward to continuing our very good dialogue with Virke, and wish all members a Happy and Prosperous New Year.
British Ambassador to Norway