Proposal for a EU COUNCIL DECISION on the signing of an agreement between EU and Norway concerning additional trade preferences in agricultural products



EXPLANATORY MEMORANDUM

1.CONTEXT OF THE PROPOSAL

Reasons for and objectives of the proposal

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 provides that the Parties will carry out, every two years, review of the conditions of trade in agricultural products and decide on a reciprocal and mutually beneficial basis on the further reduction of any type of barriers to trade in the agricultural sector.

The negotiations were conducted from 3 February 2015 to 5 April 2017. The agreement was initialled by the Parties on 5 April 2017 and provides for further trade preferences for trade in agricultural products, including additional fully liberalised tariff lines. For more sensitive products such as meat, dairy, vegetables and ornamental plants, additional or new tariff quotas have been agreed upon.

The intention of both Parties is that this Agreement enters into force on the third month following the date of the deposit of the last instrument of approval.

Consistency with existing policy provisions in the policy area

The previous agreement took the form of an exchange of letters liberalising trade in agricultural products between Norway and the European Union, based on Article 19 of the EEA Agreement. The previous agreement was signed on 15 April 2011. It provided for mutual tariff rate quotas and reductions in duty. It also included an undertaking by the Parties to resume bilateral negotiations under Article 19 of the EEA Agreement in two years’ time.

The 2011 EU-Norway bilateral agricultural trade agreement increased the duty-free access of EU agricultural products to the Norwegian market to around 60 % of trade. These figures demonstrate that there was ample room for further trade concessions. Therefore, the latest round of negotiations aimed at:


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