Norway has suggested it would be willing to roll over trade arrangements with the UK in the transition period after Brexit, in what would be a major win for Theresa May's government.
Norway's finance minister Siv Jensen told the Financial Times that Oslo has "no objections to a transition period" with "flexible solutions", implying that trade arrangements could remain in place until at least the end of 2020.
The UKs tariff-free trade in goods with non-EU countries such as Norway is ensured by EU treaty arrangements, which will end at the point of Brexit next March – something the government has argued against.
Brussels has agreed to notify third countries such as Norway of trade arrangements being “rolled over” for the transition, but many trade experts fear that trade partners will demand concessions in return.
In a speech during a visit to London, Jensen added that Norway and other countries had “an interest in the UK continuing to endorse the idea of common rules and a level playing field”, not least in financial services.
Britain and London had “a special interest in being regulated like their neighbouring countries” to “make it easier . . . to operate across borders”, she added.