South-EU agri-unions want Saharawi produce excluded from Morocco trade
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... and they ask the European Commission to provide clarity with regard to the annulment of the EU-Morocco Free Trade Agreement.
Published 01 February 2016

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The Contact Group on Tomatoes of the Joint Committee of French, Spanish and Italian agricultural unions has asked the European Commission to explain the consequences of the December 2015 judgment by the Court of Justice of the European Union annulling the EU-Morocco Free Trade Agreement as it applies in Western Sahara.

"With regard to the Court of Justice of the European Union in Case T-512/12, which canceled the free trade agreement between the EU and Morocco, the Group has reminded the Commission that increased imports of tomatoes and other products from Western Sahara are subject to the same conditions as those of any other country with which the EU has not signed a trade agreement. Therefore, they ought to be subject to the general admission price and must pay the corresponding fees customs. In this sense, the Group asked the EU authorities to ensure the correct application of the law, clarify how it will control the source of the tomatoes and if this is done through special labeling to distinguish products from Morocco of those of Western Sahara", the press release reads.

The unions are concerned about the tomato-market in the European Union, which they claim is on the verge of collapsing. Russia has recently vetoed tomato imports from Turkey, and the EU's tomato farmers fear that Turkish production will now flood the EU market. That market is already under severe pressure, the farmers say. And they blame Morocco; not only are imports from that country not properly monitored, but produce from Western Sahara is also sneeking in under the Moroccan free trade deal - something which in particular the Spanish unions (ASAJA, COAG, UPA, Agrifood Cooperatives and FEPEX) take to heart.

Over the last few years, the Dutch and the Swedish government have taken a similar position with regard to the EU-Morocco Free Trade Agreement; since Western Sahara is not Morocco, tariff reduction cannot be claimed for products from Western Sahara under a trade deal with Morocco.

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