September 23, 2003
Norway Opposes EU Duty On Its Trout
Officials from the Norwegian aquaculture industry have gone all out to try and reverse a punitive 21.4 percent duty slapped last Friday on Norwegian trout exports to the EU. Norway maintains that contrary to the European Commission's verdict, the country's trout industry is innocent of dumping, based on figures provided by the Commission. Enforcement of such an anti-dumping duty will last six months.
When asked why Norway should be imposed with a such a levy if there appear no grounds for it, Assistant Director of the Norwegian Seafood Association, Sigurd Bjorgo, pointed to barriers to trade and protectionist policies for certain European primary industries that have been in place.
Norway has until March 18 next year, when the levy expires, to convince the European Union of their stand.
Chairperson of the Federation, Lisbeth Berg-Hansen, cited the ban as price Norway has to pay for opting out of the European Union.
"Year after year we've spent time, money and energy on doing battle against the constant rain of dumping allegations against Norway. We should have used this energy instead on developing the industry, but the way things are now we're barely able to catch our breath between each case," she said, when asked if it made more sense then for Norway to simply join the European league.
Previously lower prices for trout have helped Norway gain a market-hold in Europe. Cries of foul play among Norwegian industry players appear only natural, as it seems that the levy was imposed on purpose during the price boom, despite strict compliance to EU rules and regulations. The irony of it all, Ms. Berg-Hansen points out, is that that Norway's biggest aquaculture company is Dutch-owned Marine Harvest. The country now has no way out other than to present the matter before the World Trade Organisation (WTO).