Free Trade Agreement with the UK – Selling democracy in no time

With a meager turnout in the hall, the June 17 Storting is considered the «most comprehensive free trade agreement since the EEA». Storting agreeing to the deal raised concerns, but the treatment has also sown seeds of hope. It usually takes about ten years to negotiate a free trade agreement, but not this time – despite what NHO chief Ole-Erik Almlid can believe.

The government has been negotiating a new free trade agreement with the UK in a sure-record time: one year. Storting has nearly two weeks to consider the deal. No impact assessment was made. The agreement revisits some of the controversial issues of the TISA negotiations: freeze and rattling clauses. This provision caused hundreds of thousands to take to the streets in Europe, and Uruguay withdrew from negotiations.

The TISA negotiations are on ice. But the legacy is alive and well. This is the first time Norway has included freeze and disrupt clauses on services and investments in a free trade agreement. The freeze means that the level of service and investment regulation is locked down to the current level. The ratchet clause is named after a socket wrench that can only be screwed one way – new measures in service and investment could only liberalize more.

Shaun Dennis

"Certified introvert. Devoted internet fanatic. Subtly charming troublemaker. Thinker."

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