Norway must withdraw harmful duties on agricultural products

MEPs Daniel Caspary, Esther de Lange and Bendt Bendtsen

MEPs Daniel Caspary, Esther de Lange and Bendt Bendtsen

Norway must take action to remove the significantly-increased custom duties on imports of specific agricultural products. In a Resolution adopted today, 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.”

Since July 2012, custom duties have increased from 0 to 72 percent on hydrangea flowers. As of January 1 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.

“I deplore the recent measures set up by the Norwegian Government. These are protectionist measures and harmful to trade and is clearly a breach of the letter and spirit in the bilateral agreements between the EU and Norway”, said Daniel Caspary MEP.

“Norway is happy to promote free trade when it comes to exporting salmon to the EU, but deliberately restricts imports of EU cheeses and meet. This reduces trade, and harms both Norwegian consumers, European producers, and, in the long run, Norwegian farmers as well”, added Bendt Bendtsen MEP.

Dutch MEP Esther de Lange said: “These import duties go completely against the spirit of the agreement between Norway and the EU. I understand that Norway would like to protect its farmers, but they will need to think of other, less drastic measures.”

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.