Salmon measure must stay in place, Martin tells European Commission – Fishupdate.com

Salmon measure must stay in place, Martin tells European Commission Published:  15 February, 2007

David Martin

DAVID Martin, Scotland’s senior Member of the European Parliament (MEP), today called for the European Commission not to cave in to politically motivated demands to suspend measures currently protecting the Scottish and Irish salmon industry against subsidised Norwegian salmon imports.

The Commission’s ‘Anti-Dumping’ Committee is to meet to consider an appeal from five Member States – Italy, Portugal, Lithuania, Poland, and Spain – to lift the measures that set a fair price for salmon coming into the EU, and which protect Scottish and Irish salmon farmers.

Mr Martin, who is a leading member of the European Parliament’s International Trade Committee, explained: “These requests are politically motivated. Countries who were aggrieved that the UK did not support them last year in calling for protectionist measures against shoe imports from Asia, are now trying to retaliate by taking it out on Scottish salmon farmers.”

“The two cases are totally unrelated,” continued David Martin who is the Labour Party’s International Trade Spokesman in Brussels. “The measures designed to protect the shoe industry, were based on flimsy evidence and would hurt consumers and the shoe retailing sector. In the case of salmon, the evidence showing that the Norwegians were selling under cost price was compelling.”

“While I strongly support free trade, I also believe in fair trade. If Norway wants to export its salmon into the EU it has to play by the rules. The support offered by the Norwegian Government to salmon farmers allowed them to sell at under cost price, and that simply isn’t fair,” he added.

“In the case of farmed salmon we are talking about people’s livelihoods. The salmon industry provides vital jobs in remote areas of Scotland. The industry has had a hard time over the past few years and has just recently started to recover. To succumb to this politically motivated attack on fair prices now could imperil that recovery and jeopardise hundreds of jobs,” concluded Mr Martin.

The measures setting a Minimum Import Price (MIP), for salmon, into the EU were recommended by the Commission and adopted by the Council on January 17, 2006.

They replaced pre-existing “safeguard measures”, and were put in place after a comprehensive investigation showed that Salmon producers in Norway were exporting to the EU at below cost price. Today’s appeal is an attempt to overturn this measure.

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