Tristan Rock Lobster continues to enjoy tariff-free access to EU markets after Brexit.

Tristan benefits from EU-US trade deal

Report from Chris Carnegy

Wendy Morton
Wendy Morton, FCDO Minister
for the European Neighbourhood
Britain's Overseas Territories are not included in the trade deal agreed between the UK and the EU at the end of the Brexit transition period. However, Wendy Morton, FCDO Minister for the European Neighbourhood, stated in a Press Release dated 30th December 2020:

"As the UK exits the transition period, Tristan da Cunha will continue
to have tariff-free access to the EU market for its main export, lobster."

Tristan's UK Representative explains why this is the case:

The mainstay of Tristan da Cunha's commerce is its worldwide exports of gourmet lobster. In normal times this trade accounts for around 90% of the islands' economy. Sales to Japan, Australia and the USA are vital, but in recent years the EU market has played an increasing role.

Until 31 December 2020, all UK Overseas Territories benefited from a special deal to export to the EU market without limits or import taxes (‘tariffs'). With Brexit the deal ended that night, at 11pm GMT: the EU Commission had no mandate to negotiate about Overseas Territories.

But the story doesn't end there, because the EU has separately made a change that exempts from tariffs Tristan's frozen rock lobster, among other lobsters from anywhere in the world, until July 2025. This is an unexpected benefit from an agreement that the EU struck with the USA, which came into force on 16 December 2020. It eased US lobster imports into the EU, and EU imports of cigarette lighters (among other goods) into the USA. The EU chose to apply its lobster easement worldwide, and that's how the immediate threat to Tristan's EU trade went away.

For the foreseeable future, once Europe's top restaurants and retail outlets resume normal business they can continue to access the world's finest lobster without tariffs standing in the way of a great taste.