Norway joins Canada in seal ban fight
“We consider the EU ban on seal products sales to be in violation of WTO rules”
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.