Press Release: Commission adopts proposals amending the association agreement with the Kingdom of Morocco to grant preferences to products from Western Sahara, in line with ECJ ruling

The Commission has today adopted two proposals for Council Decisions in relation to the signature and the conclusion of an agreement between the European Union and the Kingdom of Morocco on the amendment of the EU-Morocco Association Agreement (Protocols No 1 and No 4). The adoption of these proposals follows the December 2016 ruling of the Court of Justice of the European Union, and aims to respect the Court’s ruling and clarify the status of products from Western Sahara for preferential tariff treatment when imported into the EU. 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. The proposals are available here and here and will now be sent to the Member States in the Council and to the European Parliament for the next steps in the legislative process. Inclusive consultations with a wide variety of Western Saharan local representatives, civil society and other organisations and bodies showed broad support for the socio-economic benefits that the proposed tariff preference would bring, and an accompanying report that highlights the benefits of the agreement for the local population and economy is available online.  These proposals are also concluded without prejudice to the EU’s position on Western Sahara, where the EU continues to support the efforts of the United Nations Secretary-General to achieve a just, lasting and mutually acceptable political solution. Morocco is a key partner in our southern neighbourhood with which the EU has developed a lasting and valuable partnership over many years and areas, and the EU remains committed to strengthening this partnership. (For more information: Maja Kocijancic – Tel.: +32 229 86570; Vanessa Mock – Tel.: +32 229 56194; Lauranne Devillé – Tel.: +32 2 29 80833; Patrick McCullough – Tel.: +32 229 87183)

Source: European Commission

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