Endurskoðun viðskiptastefnu ESB

Unnur Orradóttir Ramette, skrifstofustjóri viðskiptaskrifstofu utanríkisráðuneytisins flutti yfirlýsingu við endurskoðun á viðskiptastefnu ESB á fundi WTO miðvikudaginn 5. júlí s.l. Af Íslands hálfu var því sérstaklega beint til ESB að tímabært væri að afnema alla tolla í viðskiptum milli Íslands og ESB með sjávarafurðir, að ESB gæfi gaum að tollframkvæmd sinni vegna gegnumflutnings á vörum um tollsvæði sitt til markaða utan sambandsins og að ESB væri staðfast í stuðningi sínum við takmörkun ríkisstyrkja á sjávarútvegi.

 

Trade Policy Review

EU

5 July 2017

Statement by Iceland

Mr. Chairman,

Let me begin by thanking Deputy Director General Mr. Korte and his EU team for all their efforts today and the comprehensive overview.

At the same time let me thank Ambassador Zapatas-Barradas for his clear presentation of some of the main issues.

Allow me also to complement the Secretariat for a very comprehensive work.

For Iceland this TPR is extremely relevant as the EU is our most important trading partner. Moreover, Iceland enjoys very deep trade relations with the EU. Being part of the Single Market, under the Agreement on the European Economic Area, means that our trade relations are to a large extent like between EU Member States themselves. However, we are not part of the Customs Union, the Common Agricultural Policy nor the Common Fisheries Policy.

In 2016 EU accounted for 72,3% of our exports in goods and 52,5% of our imports of goods. The share of our trade in services is also important. The EU accounted for almost half of our exports in services and around 65% of our imports.

Iceland and the EU have continued to deepen their trade relations.  Next year a new agreement on trade in Agricultural Products will enter into force where further steps are taken in abolishing duties. In addition the Parties will increase tariff free quotas on the most sensitive products. When it comes to Processed Agricultural Products all tariffs will be eliminated except on particular dairy products.

That leaves us with fish.

Iceland strongly believes that after almost 25 years of applying the EEA Agreement it is about time that we take the extra step and that the EU abolishes all tariffs on fisheries products in our trade relations. The EU is a net importer of fisheries products. In addition many of these tariffs are so low that they hardly make any sense any longer, except for upholding bureaucracy.


Mr. Chairman,

We submitted two written questions to the EU.

Firstly, we strongly believe that we now have a window of opportunity to take meaningful steps towards the objective of eliminating harmful fisheries subsidies in line with SDG target 14.6. We welcome the engagement of the EU in the discussions and urge the EU to continue its efforts in this regard and refrain from taking any contradictory policy decisions.

 

The second question is on the issue of products with an end destination which is outside the Customs Union of the EU. This is a real challenge for small and medium sized businesses and means on many occasions that these companies end up with paying duties to the EU for small shipments that are just being shipped through the EU from a third country to Iceland. We urge the EU, i.a. as a part of its policy of supporting SMEs, to look into measures that could be taken to facilitate products passing through its Customs Territory.

Mr. Chairman,

Allow me to especially welcome the focus EU places on gender equality and the economic empowerment of women, which is crucial to furthering sustainable development as well as economic growth and prosperity. We also applaud the EU for integrating commitments with regard to gender equality as an integral part of the Trade and Sustainable Development chapters of the EU´s recently negotiated free trade agreements and hope that going forward we will start seeing commitments of such a nature in more Agreements.  

Finally, allow me to complement the whole EU team for the enormous work they have put into their TPR and my delegation wishes the EU all the success.

Thank you

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