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Internal Market

ESA takes Iceland to Court for import restrictions

20.12.2016

PR(16)58 

EN   |  IS

The EFTA Surveillance Authority (ESA) decided today to bring two cases against Iceland regarding import restrictions on fresh meat, egg and dairy products from other EEA states before the EFTA Court. The Icelandic measures create unnecessary and unsubstantiated trade barriers.

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 “This is an internal market issue and concerns the principle of reciprocity. The rules are based on mutual trust between the EEA-EFTA states ”, says Helga Jónsdóttir, a college member at ESA.

 The Icelandic legislation currently applicable to the import of meat, meat preparations and other meat products from other EEA States is in breach of EEA law and leads to unlawful trade barriers. This also applies to the restrictions on the import of egg and dairy products.

 Importers within the EEA are subject to a number of regulations designed to guarantee the safety of the products as well as official control carried out by national authorities based on harmonised standards. The inspections are to be carried out in the country of origin and controls at the place of destination are limited to non-discriminatory veterinary spot-checks according to EEA law.

Icelandic rules require importers of fresh meat and other meat products to apply for import permits and to present certain certificates, such as a certificate confirming that the products have been stored at a temperature of at least -18°C for 30 days. It imposes a similar authorisation procedure for the import of unpasteurised milk and dairy products as well as raw eggs and raw egg products.

As additional checks, other than spot-checks, at the destination are not permitted, Iceland is in breach of EEA law. Icelandic exports are subjected to the same rules and are inspected in Iceland before they are exported to other EEA states.

Lodging a case at the EFTA Court is the last step in a formal infringement procedure against an EFTA State. Prior to this, Iceland has been informed about ESA's view and had a chance to bring forward its arguments as well as to settle the cases by complying within the applicable deadline.

 Documents

 For further information, please contact:

 Ms. Anne Vestbakke
Head of Communications
tel. +32 2 286 18 66
mob. +32 490 57 63 53




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