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The "protectionist move" by Norway to impose duties which restrict EU agricultural products' access to its market should be reversed. In case Norway does not review these measures, the Commission should consider "the possibility of further action" , say International Trade MEPs in a motion for resolution adopted on Thursday.


Trade MEPs in a resolution adopted by 25 votes in favour, 5 against and no abstentions denounce the recent unilateral rise in import tariffs on meat and cheese as "a protectionist move" which is "prohibitive to trade" and "in breach of the letter and the spirit of the bilateral Agreement between the EU and Norway" and urge the Norwegian authorities to withdraw the measures.


They regret that the duties have been raised without consulting EU institutions, as "would have been appropriate in the context of the existing strong bilateral relations" between the two partners and call on the Commission to assess the potential negative effects on EU exporters and farmers resulting from the increased tariffs.


They also urge Norway to follow the recent example set by Iceland with its "ambitious steps to liberalise their agricultural trade with the Union".

 

What next?


The resolution is set to be debated and adopted by the full House in May (tbc).


Background


From 1 January 2013 European exporters of certain cheeses, lamb and beef meat face ad valorem duties of 277%, 429% and 344% respectively in the Norwegian market. This was preceded by imposition of 72% import duty on hydrangea (hortensia) flowers.


The trade in agricultural products is excluded from the scope of the European Economic Area Agreement which makes Norway part of the EU's internal market. However, Article 19 of the agreement obliges signatories to "undertake to continue their efforts with a view to achieving progressive liberalization of agricultural trade".