Salmon safeguard measures ruling hailed as new beginning for Scottish industry Published: 13 August, 2004
AN influential UK and Irish salmon producers group has hailed as excellent
news a decision reached today, Friday, by the European Commission to
institute safeguard measures on EU imports of Atlantic salmon from Norway
and other countries that export salmon to the EU.
The safeguard measures, which are provisional, are to take the form of an
annual quota on imports, which represent two thirds of salmon consumption in
the EU. Once the quota is exceeded, a duty of about 18% will be levied on
all further imports.
Angus Morgan, secretary of the EU Salmon Producers Group, which represents
the EU-owned primary producers in Scotland and Ireland, said in a statement:
This marks the beginning of a new chapter for the Scottish salmon industry,
when farmers, processors and all associated with it, can now look forward
with some confidence to a much brighter future, freed from unfair
competition that was bringing the industry to its knees.
Mr Morgan, whose organisation had worked with the UK Department of Trade and
Industry, the Scottish Executive and the Irish Authorities to prepare the
request for measures, had high praise for all the authorities support.
In the Autumn of 2003 our Government clearly identified the extreme peril
that our industry faced . . and decided to act. They have been tireless in
prosecuting our case in Brussels, and also with Member States, not all of
whom were initially in support of the Commissions proposals [to impose
Consumer fears about a resulting increase in the price of salmon should be
allayed by the EU investigation, which also established that the full
benefit of lower prices had not been passed on to consumers, so price rises
as a result of the ruling were unlikely.
Mr Morgan continued: Over the past 18 months our industry and that of
Ireland has been severely affected by massive over-supplies, imported at
prices well below the costs of production. In the last 12 months, more than
six companies in Scotland have gone into administration or receivership and
many others are being forced to stop much needed investment and to reduce
Calum MacDonald, MP for the Western Isles, who lead the political lobbying
in Whitehall said: At a particularly difficult time in our negotiations, I
asked the Prime Minister to become involved. He did not with gusto . . .
and Im sure it made the difference between success and failure in our
lobbying, because the Norwegians were putting up a tremendous resistance.
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