EU-Morocco agreement on protection of geographical indications "should not apply to products from Western Sahara"

Brussels, 26 March 2017 (SPS) - The agreement between the European Union (EU) and Morocco on the protection of geographical indications and appellations of origin for agricultural products, processed agricultural products, fish and fishery products, "should not apply to products from Western Sahara," recommended the Commission on Fisheries in the European Parliament in a draft opinion for the Committee on International Trade.

"The Commission on Fisheries takes into consideration the judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Union delivered on 21 December 2016 (Case C-104/16 P) and its consequences; Therefore, the agreement on the protection of geographical indications should not apply to the products of the Western Sahara as long as the conflict between the Morocco and the Polisario Front is not resolved in accordance with international law", said the Commission on Fisheries in its draft opinion.

"Having regard to the sensitive points of the previous negotiations and the origin of the products of Western Sahara," the Commission on Fisheries stressed the need that "all trade agreements should be concluded in a context that fully respects human rights".

The Commission on Fisheries also considered that the agreement on the protection of geographical indications marks a "crucial step" for the future conclusion of a free trade agreement between the EU and Morocco.

The Rapporteur of the Commission, the MEP Peter Van Dalen, asserted the importance of "any label used on the market must be controlled independently to make it reliable and credible," recalling that the Commission has always advocated ecological and geographical labels for fish. (SPS)

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