Resolution on arrangements for imports into the EU

On 8 July the European Parliament adopted by 374 votes to 13, with 11 abstentions, a resolution on arrangements for importing fishery and aquaculture products (FAPs) into the European Union with a view to the future reform of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP).

The resolution deplores, first of all, the fact that the Green Paper on CFP reform devotes only a few lines to the issue of imports when Community production is insufficient to meet the needs of the processing industry and growing consumer demand. It is therefore necessary to promote responsible consumption, based upon quality and sustainability rather than quantity, while strengthening fisheries management to promote stock recovery.   In addition to maintaining a dynamic fisheries and aquaculture sector in Europe, imports will continue to play an important role in ensuring EU supplies.  
Aware that the EU market is already very open to FAP imports, the resolution notes that the present ease of exporting FAPs to Europe can sometimes have a negative impact on the local economy in certain regions. The Parliament therefore considers that it is imperative to ensure that the WTO trade regulations respect the highest international standards for fisheries management and stock conservation. Unable to accept the idea promoted through current trade policy, the members took the view that tariff protection is reasonable and should continue to play an important  and legitimate role in regulating imports.
The resolution urges, when negotiating bilateral and regional agreements,  to require a genuine quid pro quo in exchange for trade concessions to non-EU countries. It stresses the need to retain control over the trade preferences that it grants to certain partners by insisting on the application of the strict rules of origin. The Parliament believes that imported products must meet the same requirements (environmental, social, health and quality) as apply to EU production.  EU efforts to conserve fish stocks and to render fishing sustainable are incompatible with FAP imports from countries that ignore sustainability and   seek only an immediate return.  
The resolution also encourages the rigorous and effective application of rules to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, while recognising the need to help many developing countries in applying these rules correctly and in combating illegal fishing. All products exported to the European Union must come from countries that have ratified the principal international agreements in the field of maritime law
The resolution emphasises the importance of rigorously applying all aspects of EU law (food safety, traceability, prevention) to imported FAPs. In this respect, the Commission was called upon to enhance its programme of third country inspections by improving the Food and Veterinary Office missions.  
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