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MEPs instruct Norway to slash harmful agri-food duties harming EU trade – Sean Kelly MEP

Published: Mon, 08 July 2013

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The European Parliament has directed Norway to remove the harmful import duties of up to 429% it has imposed on certain agricultural products which are damaging EU trade, by a majority vote in Parliament this week, according to Ireland South MEP Sean Kelly.

“Norway must take action to remove the significantly-increased custom duties on imports of specific agricultural products. In a Resolution adopted this week, the European Parliament also calls on the European Commission to step up its response to Norway, and to specify the measures it intends to take in the eventuality that Norway refuses to reverse its decision,” Mr Kelly said today.

As of January 1st 2013, Norway significantly increased custom duties on imports of certain cheeses, lamb and beef meat, which now face duties of 277%, 429% and 344% respectively on the Norwegian market.

Mr Kelly has voiced his opposition to these “protectionist” policies on many occasions, co-signed amendments deploring the excessive duties, and voted in favour of the Parliamentary resolution to force Norway to immediately amend its policies.

“These measures are protectionist and prohibitive to trade and clearly breach the ethos of the EEA Agreement which Norway is a party to, and go against the very spirit of the Single Market. The new tariffs were imposed without any consultation with the EU and I urgently call on the government to withdraw the measures,” Mr Kelly continued.

While fisheries and agriculture are not part of the EEA Treaty on the freedom of movement of goods, Article 19 of the EEA Treaty stipulates a gradual liberalisation of these areas.

“We need to look at our relationship with Norway and ensure the Norwegian government and any others are held responsible for their actions and that they understand the EU will act to protect its interests,” Mr Kelly said during the Parliamentary debate this week.

A member of the Parliament’s Industry Committee, Mr Kelly added: “Norway should immediately remedy the situation before it causes long-term damage to EU-Norway trade relations.”

Irish exports to Norway in 2010 were worth approximately €11 million, according to Bord Bia.

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