Montag, 24.09.2018 06:41 Uhr

The review of the EU-Norway agreement

Verantwortlicher Autor: Carlo Marino Rome, 05.04.2018, 14:20 Uhr
Presse-Ressort von: Dr. Carlo Marino Bericht 4895x gelesen

Rome [ENA] The Kingdom of Norway is not a member state of the European Union (EU), but it is associated with the Union through its membership in the European Economic Area (EEA), by virtue of being a founding member of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), one of the historically two dominant western European trade blocs. Norway had twice attempted to join the European Community and the European Union.

But opted to decline following referenda in 1972 and 1994. The EU and Norway are signatories to the Agreement on the European Economic Area (EEA Agreement) which provides for the free movement of goods, with the exception of agricultural and fisheries products. As regards agriculture, Article 19 of the EEA Agreement postulates that the Parties will carry out, every two years, a review of the conditions of trade. Norway is the EU's 7th most important partner for trade in goods. While Norway's general trade with the EU reveals a surplus, in trade of basic agricultural products balance is much in favour of the EU, with the EU exports in 2016 reaching EUR 2 495 million against EUR 307 million imports from Norway.

The main EU exports are wines and vinegar, animal feed, soya and colza oil, live plants and cheese. Agriculture imports from Norway are mainly soybean, animal and vegetable oils and their residues, fur skins and undenatured ethyl alcohol. The most recent negotiations were conducted from 3 February 2015 to 5 April 2017 and resulted in a new proposal. The agreement includes supplementary fully liberalized tariff lines and additional tariff quotas for more sensitive products (meat, dairy, vegetables and ornamental plants). The previous agreement was signed on 15 April 2011 and increased the duty-free access of EU agricultural products to the Norwegian market to around 60 % of trade.

The negotiations on the new agreement therefore intended to increase the degree of liberalization, broadening the current tariff rate quotas, opening new tariff rate quotas for additional agricultural products and addressing certain pending trade irritants. Under the new agreement, both parties settled to mutually grant duty free access to 36 new tariff lines. These include live horses, certain animal products and types of plants, vegetables for feed purposes, temporarily preserved vegetables, fruit, berries and nuts, algae, certain sugars, fruit juices and fermented beverages.

Norway increases zero rate tariff quota for bovine meet (1600 t), poultry (150 t), preserved meat products (200 t), cheese and curd (1200 t), flowers and plants (two tariff lines respectively 12 million NOK and 3 million NOK), lettuce and chicory (100 t), corn (5000 t), sausages (200 t) and 15 NOK/kg rate quota for pork (300 t). The EU increases the existing zero rate quota for the following Norwegian products: poultry (700 t), preserved meat (300 t), whey products (4400 t), flowers (500 000 EUR), potato chips (150 t), animal feed (200 t) and albumins (500 t), and merges the existing quota for sheep and goat meat.

In September 2012, Norway decided to switch from specific to ad valorem duties for six tariff lines of agricultural products (cheese, beef and lamb meat), which resulted in a duty increase of up to 429%. Norway had also reclassified a garden type of hortensia, which resulted in an increase of the import duty from 0 to 72%. Under the current agreement, the compensation for these measures are obtained directly as a part of the additional quota that Norway grants for cheese, beef, flowers and live plants or indirectly as a part of the value of the overall deal as is the case for lamb.

A part of the new cheese quota would be managed via licencing. The new agreement will offer new trade opportunities for EU exporters and deepen trade relations between the EU and Norway. It must become a step towards engaging on liberalising agricultural trade between the EU and Norway further, in particular trade in processed agricultural products which is slowed down by high customs tariffs in Norway and towards continuing negotiations on geographical indications. The efforts to eliminate the still existing ad valorem duties on cheese, beef and lamb meat should persist in accordance with the obligations made by the Parties under Article 19 of the EEA Agreement and the new agreement.

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