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EU Commission adopts two proposals granting preferences to Western Sahara products

The European Commission adopted on June the 11th proposals amending the association agreement with the Kingdom of Morocco to grant preferences to products from Western Sahara, in line with ECJ ruling.

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Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita and Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the EC./Ph. DR

The European Commission adopted Monday, 11th of June, two proposals amending the EU-Morocco Association Agreement, entered into force in March 2000 to create a framework for cooperation in areas of political, trade, security, social, cultural and security links.

Announced the same day by the Commission through a press release, the two proposals are adopted to abide by the December 2016 ruling of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU)

They aim according to the Commission to «respect the Court’s ruling and clarify the status of products from Western Sahara for preferential tariff treatment when imported into the EU».

According to the European Commission’s communiqué, protocol 1 related on «the arrangements applying to imports into the Community of agricultural products originating in Morocco» and protocol 4 «concerning the definition of originating products and methods of administrative cooperation», are the ones to be amended.

Granting preferences to Western Sahara products 

For the commission the draft agreement proposes that «products originating from Western Sahara which are subject to the control of the Moroccan custom authorities benefit from the same commercial preferences granted by the EU to products covered by the association agreement».

«It also aims to contribute to the economic development of Western Sahara by ensuring that exports to the EU originating there will benefit from wide-ranging trade preferences».

European Commission

The proposals will be sent to European Union member states in the Council and to the European Parliament for legislative process.

After conducting a series of consultations with Western Saharan local representatives, civil society and other bodies, the Commission received positive responses on the «socio-economic benefits that the proposed tariff preference would bring», said the same source.

In its statement the Commission stressed that the proposals are concluded without «prejudice to the EU’s position on Western Sahara», which according to it supports the efforts made by the United Nations to find a political solution for the territorial conflict.

For the record, the EU-Morocco Association Agreement is established between the Community and its Member States, of the one part, and Morocco, of the other part to provide a framework for political dialogue between the parties, establish the conditions for the gradual liberalization of trade, and promote cooperation.

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