EU-Morocco Association Agreement does not apply to Western Sahara

The EU Court of Justice ruled that the EU Association Agreement with Morocco does not apply to Western Sahara, but for FEPEX there is a disparity between the content of the ruling and the facts, since Saharan horticultural products are being exported to the EU as Moroccan, thus enjoying the advantages of the Association Agreement.

According to the ruling issued by the EU Court of Justice, the EU Association Agreement with Morocco is not applicable to Western Sahara because this territory should be considered a third party. It states that "when a treaty is intended to be applied not only in the sovereign territory of a State, but also beyond it, the treaty must expressly mention it," and the EU Association Agreement with Morocco, signed in 2012, does not mention or apply to Western Sahara.

For FEPEX, if the Association Agreement does not apply to the territory of the Sahara, the benefits granted to Morocco for the export of fruit and vegetables to the EU, as set out in Protocol I of the Association Agreement, should not apply to products originating in this territory. Therefore, FEPEX believes that it would be necessary to differentiate the horticultural products from the territory of Morocco and the territory of the Sahara, where the production has grown considerably in recent years, overlapping also with the Spanish campaign and consequently competing directly with the Spanish productions, both in the EU and the Spanish markets.

EU imports of fresh Moroccan fruits and vegetables have registered strong growth in recent years, driven by the fact that the requirements imposed on EU producers in many areas, from the environmental to the social, do not apply in Morocco. The import has gone from 796 million Euro in 2012 to 1,263 million Euro in 2015, according to Eurostat data processed by FEPEX. In 2016, and according to the latest data, updated until September, EU imports of fresh Moroccan fruits and vegetables were worth 1,032 million Euro, 12% more than in the same period of 2015.

In the Spanish market, sales of fresh Moroccan fruits and vegetables are recording strong growth. In 2015, they generated 353 million Euro, a 41% growth compared to 2014, and up to September 2016 they have totalled 324 million Euro, 20% more than in the same period of 2015. It is worth noting the sharp growth of Spanish imports of Moroccan products such as tomatoes, peppers, green beans, melons, citrus fruits or strawberries.


Source: fepex.es


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