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Agricultural Policy

24.01.2011 // With the exception of veterinary and phytosanitary measures, agricultural policy is not a part of the EEA Agreement. However, custom duties for processed agricultural products (Protocol 3) and the development of trade concerning basic agricultural products between the EU and Norway (Article 19) are included in the agreement.

Norway and the EU
Protocol 3 regulates customs duties for processed agricultural products, taking into account the impact of the differences in prices between the EU, Norway and Iceland for basic agricultural products. Protocol 3 entered into force as from 1 January 2002. New negotiations have been concluded between the Commission and Norway in March 2004 with regard to the elimination of the non-agricultural component of customs duties on products in Table 1 of Protocol 3. Revised tariffs entered into force as from 1st  of July 2004.

According to Article 19, the Contracting Parties shall "continue their efforts with a view to achieving progressive liberalisation of agricultural trade" and carry out reviews of trade in agricultural products at two-yearly intervals. Negotiations on tariff reductions and increases in quotas for some basic agricultural products between Norway and the EU have taken place recently and were concluded early in 2010. The agreement in the form of an exchange of letters will enter into force in 2011 when it is duly accepted and ratified by the relevant EU and Norwegian Authorities.

Norwegian Agricultural Policy
Although there are few formal links between the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) in the EU and Norwegian agricultural policy, many of the policy objectives (e.g. multifunctional and sustainable agriculture throughout the territory) and design (market/price regulations combined with agricultural support) coincide. In the ongoing WTO negotiations the EU and Norway have common interests in gaining acceptance for the European model of agriculture.

In 1999 the Norwegian Government presented a white paper on Norwegian agricultural policy, which focused on the price gap between agricultural prices in the EU and Norway and the need to reduce this gap for various reasons, including trade leakage. It also focused on the multifunctional role of agriculture in Norway and the corresponding need for border protection for Norwegian agriculture. The parliament took note of the views set out in the white paper in May 2000.

In 2011 the Minister of Food and Agriculture will prepare a new white paper for agricultural and food policy with the intention that the Government present it to the Parliament later in the year. The Minister wants to analyse changes that has taken place internationally as well as in Norway in order to lay an updated and future oriented foundation for policies for agriculture, food industry and food markets in the years to come.

The agricultural policy is also modified on a yearly basis through the annual agricultural agreements between the government and the two farmer's unions and through the annual state budget.

Better functioning of the Food Supply Chain
The High Level Forum for Better functioning of the Food Supply Chain was established by the EU Commission in 2010. Commission Vice President Antonio Tajani invited Mr Einar Steensnæs, former minister and presently chairman of the Norwegian Inquiry commission for the power relations in the supply chain, to participate in the High Level Forum as an observer. Steensnæs said at the first meeting of the forum in November 2010 that he saw commonalities between the EU and Norwegian agendas and that he hoped to be able to contribute on points like: 1) value for money for the consumer and a sufficient range of groceries, 2) a fair competition between providers and 3) reasonable application of purchasing power throughout the whole food supply chain.

The Counsellor for agriculture and food industry, Knut Øistad, works with common agricultural policy, trade relations, rural development and forestry, and the relations in the food market. Email: Knut.Oistad@mfa.no . Tel: +32 (0) 2 238 74 49.

Counsellor for food, Steinar Svanemyr, works with food safety, the food chain, animal health and, welfare as well as gmo policy etc , stsv@mfa.no, tel +32 (0) 2 238 74 53.

(Updated January 2011)

 


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