No victory for Norway in salmon dispute Published: 16 November, 2007
NORWAY has failed to win decisive support from an international trade body in its battle against EU salmon trade provisions.
In a complex ruling issued today, the World Trade Organisation (WTO) accepts that the trade protection measures do not conform to acceptable methodology but at the same time falls short of telling the European Community how to correct them.
The WTO also rejects Norway’s demand for a full scale rebuke to the Community for measures designed to safeguard the welfare of community salmon producers, particularly in Scotland and Ireland.
The ruling falls in line with earlier speculation that the WTO decision would be something of a damp squib, in reality favouring neither side.
Scotland’s Minister for Environment Michael Russell swiftly gave his reaction.
“The Scottish Government firmly believes EU anti-dumping measures against farmed salmon from Norway are necessary, proportionate and fair.
“These measures are important in protecting our Scottish industry from unfair competition. I welcome the Panel’s rejection of Norway’s call for the EU measures to be withdrawn.
“I am pleased too that the Panel has also found in the EU’s favour on a number of key points.
“I expect the European Commission to, where appropriate, appeal on a number of points on which the Panel has initially found in Norway’s favour.
“In the meantime the EU anti-dumping measures against imports of farmed salmon from Norway remain fully in force. The Scottish Government, together with the UK Government, will continue to work closely with the European Commission to maintain this position.”
Definitive EU anti-dumping measures against imports of farmed Norwegian salmon have been in place since January 2006. The UK, together with Ireland, requested the measures to provide a breathing space for Scottish (and Irish) salmon farmers to diversify and restructure without unfair competition from increasing low-priced imports.
In August, there was a shocked reaction in Scotland to claims from the Norwegian state broadcaster, Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation (NRK), that the World Trade Organisation (WTO) would challenge the minimum import price set by the EU for farmed salmon from Norway.
NRK said that it had received a copy of the WTO report which examined claims that the Norwegian farmed salmon industry had been dumping cheap salmon onto EU markets. Norway has been applying increasing pressure on the EU and on the WTO to overturn the MIP. The European Commission set the MIP for salmon at 2.80Euros/kg in 2006.
One prominent Scottish farmer who did not want to be named said at the time: If this is true, and if the EC is forced to remove the MIP, it would threaten the progress being made by all sectors of the industry at present.
He added: Everyone who saw the price instability in the years before the MIP was imposed, and everyone connected with the industry, should support the continuation of the MIP. It has stabilised the market and has given producers some certainty for making investment plans.
It also allows producers to keep a stable workforce and develop their markets.
“I am sure that this period of stability has helped the Norwegian companies as much as it has helped companies in Scotland and Ireland.
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