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Faroe Islands; Turkey; United Kingdom: Free Trade Agreement Impacts Fishing

(Jan 13, 2015) On December 16, 2014, the Faroe Islands and Turkey concluded a free trade agreement, the result of a 15-year process. Details had been worked out in September 2014. The agreement was welcomed by Faroese Prime Minister Kaj Leo Holm Johannesen, who signed the document in Ankara with Turkish Minister of the Economy Nihat Zeybekçi. (Press Release, Faroese Prime Minister’s Office, The Faroe Islands and Turkey Sign Free Trade Agreement (Dec. 16, 2014) ARCTIC JOURNAL.) Johannesen stated that for the Faroe Islands,

Turkey is a significant market – and a growing one for both salmon and pelagic fish … . The agreement provides the Faroe Islands with duty-free access for our most important products. We can now compete on equal terms on the Turkish market with other seafood exporting countries, such as Iceland, Norway and Scotland. (Id.; “pelagic” fish are those found in the open seas, at the upper levels of the ocean, Pelagic, DICTIONARY.COM (last visited Jan. 9, 2015).)

Scottish members of the pelagic fishing industry are unhappy with this development, describing it as “another devastating blow” to the industry. (Faroe Islands FTA with Turkey Another Blow for Scottish Pelagic Industry, ICE NEWS (Jan. 6, 2014).) The chair of the Scottish Pelagic Processors Association (SPPA), Ian McFadden, disagrees with Johannesen’s description that the agreement gives the Faroe Islands equal access to the Turkish market. Instead, he argued, because imports of mackerel from other European Union nations are subject to a 50% tax, Scotland would essentially be priced out of the market in Turkey. (Id.)

In addition, mackerel caught by boats from the Faroe Islands in waters off the coast of Scotland will not be brought to Scottish ports for processing, due to aspects of the Faroese tax structure. The SPPA has been lobbying the British and Scottish governments to adopt a free trade agreement between the EU and the Faroe Islands. (Id.)

The Faroe Islands have been a self-governing administrative division of the Kingdom of Denmark since 1948. They are located about half way between Iceland and Norway. (Central Intelligence Agency, Faroe Islands, WORLD FACTBOOK (June 9, 2014).)