COAG: “MOROCCO STRENGTHENS ITS LOGISTICS TO INCREASE FRAUDULENT WEST SAHARA FARM EXPORTS TO THE EUROPEAN MARKET”
dernoagrario.com – The coordination of farmers and livestock organizations (COAG) reports that Morocco is strengthening its logistics system to increase fraudulent agricultural exports from Western Sahara to the European market. So much so that one of the world’s leading shipping and container companies, the French CMA CGM, announced on 7 August the launch of a weekly route linking Dajla, in the occupied territories of Western Sahara, with the main Moroccan ports (Agadir – Casablanca – Tangier) and with Algeciras as the gateway to Europe. This announcement has already come true with the departure of the first freighter, the CMA CGM AGADIR, from Dajla on August 22, with goods from the Saharawi territories and which made the relevant stops at the ports of Morocco.
This confirms the warnings made by COAG following the revision of the EU-Morocco trade agreement (approved by the European institutions in early 2019), thus extending the trade advantages of Moroccan exports to the EU to Western Sahara productions. This review sought to accommodate the CJEU decision of December 2016, which declared void the application of this agreement to the territory of Western Sahara, as Morocco and Western Sahara are “two separate and distinct territories”.
COAG considers that with this review, the Spanish government and the European Union only seek to favor the economic interests of a handful of multinational agro-exporters and not only do not take care of the interests of European farmers, but also disregard the rights. foundations of the native population of Western Sahara.
Near the start of the new horticultural campaign, COAG expresses its concern about the increase in production imported from Western Sahara as a Moroccan product. “These products are a major detriment to Spanish producers as the volume increase overlaps our production schedule and targets the same markets. They exert unfair competition based on lower costs based on very permissive regulations in terms of working conditions, social coverage and workers’ wages, plant health enforcement, food safety and quality, etc. … And they also involve fraud on European consumers, whose rights are not respected, as they will not have reliable information on the true origin of imported fruits and vegetables, “said Andrés Góngora, head of COAG’s fruit and vegetable sector.
In this regard, COAG reiterates that the EU-Morocco Free Trade Agreement violates European legislation on the marketing of fresh fruit and vegetables, limiting consumers’ ability to know clearly whether a product labeled as originating in Morocco comes from this Kingdom, or come from Western Sahara. “European legislation is clear and fixed that fresh fruits and vegetables can only be marketed if they contain the country of origin indication. Therefore, COAG requires the European Union to tighten border controls to prevent agricultural products grown in the Sahara territories. Enter the Community market as if they were from Morocco, without the corresponding clarifications on the labeling, “said Góngora.