BYM Marine Environment News | Sunday, 03 August 2008
Brussels and Israel. EU agreement reached to liberalise trade in Agricultural and Fishery Products
Negotiators have reached a preliminary agreement to further liberalise trade in agricultural and processed agricultural products and fish and fishery products between the European Union and the State of Israel, following technical verification of the Common Understanding reached on 30 April 2008 in Bet-Dagan (Israel) on bilateral tariff concessions. This will form the basis of a future agreement, subject to completion of both sides’ internal procedures. The new trade concessions represent a major step forward in the integration of the EU and Israeli markets.
Within the framework of the Euro-Mediterranean Association Agreement with the State of Israel and in accordance with the Euro-Mediterranean Roadmap for Agriculture (Rabat roadmap) adopted on 28 November 2005, the European Commission entered into negotiations with the State of Israel on further liberalisation of trade concerning agricultural, processed agricultural, fish and fishery products.
For processed agricultural products, a level of full liberalisation of trade for both parties as high as 95 percent has been achieved. For the remaining sensitive products (5 percent of trade value), some additional preferences have been exchanged in the form of tariff quotas or reduced duties (some confectionery products, biscuits, vermouth, grape spirits and starch based glues).
For agricultural, fish and fishery products, substantial progress was made towards full liberalisation of trade. Regarding more sensitive agricultural products such as fruit and vegetables and sugar, improved market access was achieved for both sides by means of increasing existing duty free quotas, extending existing calendars and by creating new tariff quotas, such as for goose liver, yogurts, sheep meat, lemons, oranges, mandarins, grapes, melons, kiwi, apricots, cherries, peaches, olives, preserved strawberries, and soya oil. In addition, in the absence of a standstill clause for agricultural products, the Israeli side agreed to bind the applied tariff rates to a maximum below the MFN bound rates for around 200 tariff lines.
Once adopted, the agreement will create new trade opportunities for EU exporters in a large range of products that could not previously reach the Israeli market. Israel’s major export sectors will benefit from further liberalisation and better market access while respecting the entry price system without any further modification in relation to the currently applied situation. The result is a balanced deal beneficial for both sides.