The farm and fisheries deal with Morocco gets the green light from International Trade Committee

MEPs at International Trade Committee (INTA) approved the proposed EU-Morocco trade liberalisation agreement for farm and fishery products. The Committee voted against the original recommendation, drafted by José Bové, which called on Parliament to withhold its consent to the agreement. If approved by Parliament as a whole, the proposed agreement would immediately liberalise 45% of EU exports and also immediately liberalise 55% of EU imports from Morocco.

The International Trade Committee (INTA) at the European Parliament gave its green light to the proposed EU-Morocco trade liberalisation agreement, which implies, if approved by the Parliament as a whole, to liberalise 45% of EU exports (by value). Over a ten-year transition period this share would then grow to 70%. It would also immediately liberalise 55% of EU imports from Morocco (by value), and also increase concessions in the fruit and vegetable sector. This would be also applied to the fisheries. However, the European Parliament recently rejected to extend the EU-Morocco fisheries agreement.

In addition, within 10 years, the proposed agreement would liberalised EU tinned goods, most fruits and vegetables (with the exception of beans, almonds or apples), cereals (with the exception of common wheat and durum wheat) and most EU dairy products (with the exception of ultra-high temperature milk and whole milk powder). Tariff quotas for non-liberalised products such as meat, cured meat, common wheat or olive oil would also be increased. However, it provides for a system of entry prices and tariff quotas for sensitive EU products (especially tomatoes) and safeguard measures for use should Moroccan imports seriously disturb the EU market.

José Bové, the MEP who drafted the original recommendation on the agreement, voted against because he argued that the agreement would make it difficult for EU farmers to continue to compete, hinder development of balanced agriculture in Morocco and provide no guarantees that Morocco will cease to exploit child labour or allow Moroccan farmers to join trade unions, which they are prohibited from doing now. He also pointed out that inadequate checks on the quantities of goods imported, low entry prices for Moroccan products and inclusion of Western Sahara in the proposed agreement are big concerns.