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Parliamentary questions
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11 September 2017
Joint answer given by Mr Moscovici on behalf of the Commission
Written questions: E-003092/17 , E-001582/17 , E-003026/17
Question references: E-001582/2017, E-003026/2017, E-003092/2017

With regard to imports until the date of the judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Union, the Commission has informed the Member States' customs authorities that, taking into account the exceptional factual circumstances of the case as detailed in the Court ruling, it is not justified to recover the relevant amounts of duty from the importing companies. As a consequence, the national customs authorities should not initiate recovery proceedings for imports of Western Sahara products which occurred before 22 December 2016.

As the Commission pointed out in its answers to written questions E-001869/2017 and E-002035/2017, it has provided guidelines to the customs authorities of the Member States on the implications of the ruling of the Court of Justice. These guidelines include that, in case of reasonable questions about the origin of goods, customs authorities should make inquiries in accordance with the arrangements for administrative cooperation laid down in Title VI of Protocol 4 to the EU-Morocco Association Agreement.

The Commission is working on the best way to follow-up on the Court's ruling, taking into account the long-standing EU-Morocco partnership as well as the interests of the people of Western Sahara, and with a view to preserving trade exchanges in a context of legal certainty. To that end, the Council has authorised the Commission to negotiate an agreement on the adaptations of protocols to the EU-Morocco Association Agreement.

The Council Decision concluding the Agreement will be subject to the European Parliament's consent. The timeframe needed to introduce the adaptations will greatly depend on the progress made in the negotiations and in the decision-making process once the text becomes final.

Legal notice