General Confederation of Moroccan Enterprises

CGEM makes statement on judgement by General Court of European Union

"We have taken note of the judgments handed down today by the General Court of the European Union concerning the decisions of the Council of the European Union on the Association Agreement between the European Union and the Kingdom of Morocco on agricultural products and sustainable fishing,"  was said in a statement by the General Confederation of Moroccan Enterprises. 

"The European Court's decision is to maintain the effect of the agricultural agreement between Morocco and the EU until the final judgment of the European Court of Last Instance.

We remain mobilized to continue the cooperation between the European Union and Morocco. Our business communities have important links to promote and foster a sustainable post-pandemic economic recovery.

The stability of trade relations between the European Union and the Kingdom of Morocco, as major economic partners, is also a guarantee of a win-win partnership. We remain convinced that solidarity and sustainable trade between the EU and Morocco guarantee the security of the region and its people.

We will continue to work to develop the multiple dimensions of this EU-Morocco strategic partnership, in terms of economic, social and environmental growth.”

Political conflict
Morocco has included Western Sahara as its territory since 1975, but this is not recognized internationally. This has made it a very politically sensitive conflict for many years. The agreements to be renegotiated concern favorable tariffs on agricultural products that Morocco is allowed to import into the EU and also a fisheries agreement. The European Court has previously ruled that free trade agreements between the EU and Morocco do not apply to Western Sahara.

Labeling
Earlier this month, European Agriculture Commissioner Janusz Wojciechowski spoke out. He refuted allegations of 'fraudulent labeling of tomatoes' grown in Western Sahara and sold as 'Moroccan product'. He emphasized that so-called 'third countries', including Morocco, are allowed to carry out their own checks on fruit and vegetables before exporting to the EU.

This summer, various European parties, including the Dutch Produce Association, also urged the European Commission to monitor the import of Moroccan tomatoes more strictly. They sent a letter about this.

The European parties believe that rules are currently being broken and that another way is needed to determine the import value of Moroccan tomatoes. The prices of 'normal tomatoes' should not be used as a guideline in this regard. In addition, after the UK's departure from the EU, the quota must be reduced by about 50,000 tons, according to the letter writers, and it must be clear which tomatoes come from Western Sahara. A statement has now been made on the latter.

The judgements can be found in detail here:
https://curia.europa.eu/juris/documents.jsf?num=T-279/19 
https://curia.europa.eu/juris/documents.jsf?num=T-344/19 


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