Norway joins Canada in seal ban fight

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“We consider the EU ban on seal products sales to be in violation of WTO rules”

SPECIAL TO NUNATSIAQ NEWS

PETER O’NEIL, Postmedia News -Original article here


Norway joined Canada March 15 in asking the World Trade Organization to establish a dispute-settlement panel to consider a challenge to the European Union’s seal products ban.

“We consider the EU ban on seal products sales to be in violation of WTO rules and want an independent assessment of a dispute settlement panel in the WTO,” said Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Store, according to a translation of the government news release.

The release said WTO-arranged consultations between Norway and the EU have failed.

Canada announced last month that it was asking for a dispute-settlement panel to challenge the ban, which came into force last summer.

The process normally takes a year to reach a conclusion, according to the news release.

Norwegian Fisheries Minister Lisbeth Berg-Hansen echoed past statements by Canadian politicians, saying it is defending a principle that Norwegians have a right to take part in a sustainable harvest and then sell the products.

The European Parliament, dismissing Canada’s argument that the hunt is humane, voted by a margin of 550 to 49 to impose its seal ban in May 2009.

Since then, several rounds of trade consultations through the trade organization have failed to resolve the dispute.

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