Saturday, 23 September 2017

Iceland opens door for UK to join EFTA

Gudlaugur Thór Thórdarson

ICELAND‘s foreign minister has opened the door for Britain to rejoin a European trade club that would put it on a fast track to sign dozens of ready made deals after Brexit.

Gudlaugur Thór Thórdarson said he had spoken to Boris Johnson, the foreign secretary about the UK joining the European Free Trade Assocation (EFTA) at a meeting before June’s general election.

He said: “This is one thing that we should look very carefully into and my personal view is that I think it would be a very interesting idea.”

It came as a top UK business group warned of the potentially damaging impact of Brexit on investment. A survey by the Confederation of British Industry showed 40pc of businesses said Brexit had hit investment plans, with 98pc citing a negative impact.

The poll of 357 companies will dash hopes that stronger global growth is paving the way for an investment boost, and highlights the need for MPs to provide more clarity over the UK’s future trading arrangements.

The EFTA members of Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland have signed 27 free trade agreements with 38 global partners.

Mr Thordarson said the UK’s membership would give the group more clout on the world stage.

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