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Norway's overland exports grind to a halt

NORWEGIAN trucks exporting salmon to the European Union market came to a halt on Tuesday night, Norwegian Broadcasting NRK has reported.

NORWEGIAN trucks exporting salmon to the European Union market came to a halt on Tuesday night, Norwegian Broadcasting NRK has reported.

The European Commission announced last Friday that salmon exports from the world's largest producers: Norway, Chile, Iceland and the Faeroe Islands would be restricted.

As of this week, a quota based on current exports restricts the amount of salmon they are able to sell into the EU. As a consequence, on February 8th, the Norwegian Seafood Federation recommended trucks on their way to EC markets should wait until Brussels fully explained the new regulations. "This is badly arranged. We have no further details but a five-page overall document, which has not offered much advice," said Astrid Holtan from the Norwegian Ministry of Fisheries, the EU Observer reported. In addition to the Commission's new regulation restricting salmon, a minimum import price of $3.40I(2.7 euro) per kilo has been introduced. The import price will rise to U$3.63 (2.85 euro) per kilo from April 15th.

 In a press release Kjell Magne Bondevik, the Norwegian Prime minister, commented on the Commission’s announcement and said that as the Commission now has gone ahead with implementing safeguarding measures against Norwegian salmon, they saw no other solution but to follow up the question with the World Trade Organisation(WTO).He added:
"We argue that there is no foundation for the EU’s safeguarding measures under WTO regulations. Norway has been saying this all along. The Norwegian fish farming trade is effective and competitive without any form of state subsidies."

This benefits European consumers, he said and Norway’s goal has been to find a long-term solution that will contribute to a fair and predictable trade regime.The new proposals are set to last until August 2008 unless member states choose to remove them. Chile has already requested salmon consultations with the WTO.