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Canarian request for renegotiation of EU-Morocco Trade Agreement

The Canarian Councillor of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Water, Juan Ramón Hernández, has sent a request to the European Union demanding the conditions of the EU-Morocco Trade Agreement to be renegotiated and for Moroccan tomato shipments to Europe to be distributed throughout the entire year, and not just over a few months, which has severely negative consequences for Canarian tomatoes.

This way, assures the Councillor, the batches Morocco distributes in the months of December, January, April and May would be spread throughout the year, thereby partly preventing unfair competition with Canarian tomatoes, which are exported from May to September.

The Councillor reminded that in the initiative approved by the Parliament it is also requested, among other issues, that the Spanish Government demands the European Commission to enforce the agreed import quotas of Moroccan tomatoes to the EU market.

According to Hernández, which has demanded compensatory measures for Canarian producers, these quotas are constantly exceeded and no sanctions are imposed.

He believes the EU offers Moroccan tomatoes a position of preference, despite the fact that their production costs are much lower and they are not forced to meet any phytosanitary measures, unlike Canarian tomatoes.

"Morocco does not meet the terms of the current agreement," stated the Councillor, who also denounced "fraudulent elements" in the price of entry of Moroccan tomatoes to Europe, lamenting the inefficacy of border controls.

Furthermore, he also demanded the Central Government to make the necessary budgetary changes to cover 70% of the logistic costs generated by the shipment of tomatoes from the Islands.

He stressed that, "evidently, the Government has not taken this petition in due consideration, as it has reduced the budgetary aid to transport, which will only make the situation worse for the sector."

For the Councillor, the tomato subsector is of primary importance for the Canary Islands, so it cannot afford to lose any foreign market share, especially now that the Spanish Government is attempting to use exports as an engine for economic recovery.

Additionally, he informed that the Canarian Government will allocate 10 million Euro to the tomato sector this year, while in 2014 this figure is expected to be raised to 13 million Euro.

Source: hortoinfo
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