The Coordinator of Organizations of Farmers and Cattle Ranchers (COAG) strongly criticized the position adopted by the MEPs who were in favor of extending the commercial advantages that Moroccan exports to the EU have to the productions of Western Sahara. This approval clearly harms the interests of fruit and vegetable producers as there will be an increase in the volumes of product imported from Morocco, which coincides in time and markets, with the Spanish productions. In addition, the rights of European consumers will not be respected, as they won't have reliable information on Moroccan imported fruits and vegetables.
COAG also regrets that the proposal to conduct a prior consultation to the Court of Justice of the EU on the legality of this new commercial agreement wasn't approved, as it would have served to provide legal certainty to this new scenario that, therefore, is already born with a certain lack of credibility. "The negotiation process has been plagued by dark areas, with opaque pressures from Morocco, in the midst of a possible serious scandal of conflict of interest by several MEPs of the International Trade Commission and without an impact study, nor verifiable statistical information on the commercial volumes coming from Western Sahara, since Morocco has not provided reliable information in this regard," said Andres Gongora, the man in charge of the fruit and vegetable sector of the COAG.
The COAG continues to believe that the EU-Morocco Free Trade Agreement violates European legislation on the marketing of fresh fruits and vegetables as it limits the ability of consumers to clearly know if a product labeled as originating in Morocco comes from this Kingdom, or from Western Sahara. European legislation is clear and it states that fresh fruits and vegetables can only be marketed if they include the indication of the country of origin. The COAG has demanded that the European Union tighten border controls to prevent agricultural products grown in the territories of Western Sahara from entering the Community market as if they were from Morocco, without the corresponding clarifications in the labeling.
This revision of the trade agreement between the EU and Morocco was negotiated after the judgement of the CJEU of December 2016, in which it declared the application of this agreement to the territory of Western Sahara null and void because Morocco and Western Sahara are two separate and different territories. The European Commission decided to amend the current EU-Morocco agreement so that it included Western Sahara and now the European Parliament has accepted this proposal, whose final adoption is in the process of being approved by the European Council.