|Norway claims salmon victory|
| [31.08.2007, 12:00am, Fri. GMT]|
|Norway's government claimed Friday that it had won the support of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in its battle with the European Union over salmon exports. The EU has a different interpretation, and it remained unclear whether the EU would back down on its minimum price for Norwegian salmon. Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) reported Friday that it had obtained a copy of a WTO report that concludes that the EU's anti-dumping tactics violate its trade regulations. Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre later confirmed the Norwegian trade victory, saying Norway had won the WTO's nod on the main points of its complaint against the EU.That made it difficult for the Scottish salmon producers, who are members of the EU, to compete against the Norwegians, who are not members of the EU.|
So the EU introduced a minimum wholesale price aimed at forcing the Norwegians to stop undercutting the Scots. Norwegian officials then appealed to the WTO, claiming the minimum price was protectionist and in violation of WTO regulations.
It was a relatively bold move, given Norway's historically strained relations with the WTO over its own attempts to protect Norwegian farmers and keep EU and other countries' products out of Norway. The case points up the challenge Norway faces in trying to balance the interests of its important seafood industry, and domestic agriculture.
The WTO has now reportedly decided that the EU's basis for addressing the alleged salmon dumping was ill-founded because the EU hadn't proved dumping had in fact taken place. The EU reportedly based its move only on an analysis of the five Scottish producers' economic records.
The WTO also reportedly ruled the EU had erred in calculating dumping margins for both Norwegian salmon farmers and the firms that prepare the salmon for market.
The WTO's report won't be made public until later this autumn. The EU can appeal.
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