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But Greenland, the first country to quit the bloc, has stepped in to offer the Prime Minister “the easiest deal that the UK has to make” to help protect supplies of Britain’s favourite takeaway meal. In a major trade boost, the Arctic island nation insisted it is ready to broker an agreement to avoid tariffs and quotas by the end of the year. Its foreign minister Steen Lynge has already urged International Trade Secretary Liz Truss to open negotiations on a generous offer to safeguard thousands of tonnes of seafood sent to the UK every year.
He told Express.co.uk: “We have a longstanding affection for the UK. British music, TV series and films and the Premier League are all very well-known and cherished in Greenland.
“A little less known, is that communities across Greenland have grown and thrived as a result of decades of stable trade with the UK.
“We are proud to catch and supply the very highest-quality fish in Britain’s most famous national dish, fish and chips.”
While Brussels refuses to recognise Britain’s status as an independent coastal nation in the wrangling over a Brexit trade deal, Greenland is far more sympathetic.
After securing its independence from Denmark, Greenlanders voted in 1982 to scrap their country’s EU membership in fury at the bloc’s controversial Common Fisheries Policy.
The Greenlandic fleet plays a pivotal role in fulfilling Britons’ love for fish and chips, sending around 9,000 tonnes of seafood to the UK every year.
According to Friars Pride, a leading supplier to the country’s 10,500 chip shops, more than 13 million portions are provided by Greenland to the UK.
And Britons are said to eat around 167 million portions of their much-loved meal every year.
Without an agreement Britain would have to import more than 3,000 tonnes of cod subject to trade tariffs from Greenland to meet demand, driving up the price of the celebrated dish by more than 20 percent.
Andrew Crooks, president of the National Federation of Fish Friers, warned many of Britain’s fish and chips shops “don’t have the margins” to cope with a surge in cod prices and would be forced to close.
He said: “We’ve got to support British fishermen but they can’t supply all of what we need. Without them, the other fish producers will be able to operate like a cartel with carte blanche to increase prices.
“You need competition in the market and without Greenlandic fish we’d lose a big proportion of that.”
Mr Crooks claimed traditional shop owners would be forced to diversify, by selling more burgers and kebabs, without a steady supply of cod coming into the UK.
“There’s a lot of shops that are struggling already, trying to find their feet and trying everything to survive, because people in certain areas don’t have the money to spend on fish and chips,” he added.
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“It’s still a good value meal but not as cheap as it used to be.”
Dr Dwayne Ryan Menezes, of the Polar Research and Policy Initiative think-tank, said: “The tariffs would translate as a sharp increase in the prices of some of the most popular seafood products in the UK, which would take a serious toll on demand, both among importers and consumers.
“It would compel UK consumers to pay higher prices for prawns, cod, haddock and crab from Greenland or to find alternative sources of fish products that could be of lower quality, which in the absence of the vast supply from Greenland exercising a downward pressure on prices, would also result in a price hike.”
Some 6,000 tonnes of cold-water prawns are also sent to the UK from Greenland each year.
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In contrast to the generous Greenlandic trade offer, Brussels has threatened to block cod supplies to the UK unless the EU fleet is granted permanent access to our coastal waters.
Eurocrats have estimated the UK only catches five percent of the white fish its population eats every year from its own fishing grounds.
The bloc has said it will target Britain’s favourite takeaway with crippling tariffs if a trade deal isn’t reached before the end of the year.
Talks between Lord Frost, the Prime Minister’s Brexit envoy, and EU counterpart Michel Barnier continue today in Brussels.
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