Rabat – The European Commission (EC) has laid to rest Clara Aguilera’s claims that Moroccan tomato exports as a threat to “the stability of the EU tomato market.”
Agulera, a Spanish Member of the European Parliament (MEP), has been rallying behind two main claims to urge the the union to take action against Morocco’s tomato exports to Europe. She claimed that imported Moroccan tomatoes have been fraudulently labelled as originating from Spain, and that Morocco is exceeding the EU’s import quotas.
For the Spanish MEP, Morocco’s exports are threatening the EU’s tomato market and the livelihood of Spanish farmers.
In response, Stella Kyriakides, the EU’s Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, said, according to Spanish newspaper Diario de Almeria: “In 2019… there were 297 exchanges in the EU regarding suspected fraud. The Commission did not receive any information from the Member States on the change of origin of imported fruit and vegetables.”
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Kyriakides added, “In any case, when a control determines that the products are not compliant, they cannot be marketed in the EU. The options are that the trader adapt them to be compliant and commercialize them after the national control body has re-evaluated the conformity, or discard them from the market.”
Under the EU’s stringent controls, suppliers must indicate the country of origin on all invoices, as well as other accompanying documents, when exporting a product. The country of origin must also be labeled on the product’s packaging, whether it is at the wholesale level, or at retail.
Meanwhile, European member states should also enforce regular conformity checks. These rules apply to both imported produce and produce that originated in the EU.
Regarding the EU’s tomato quotas, the commissioner indicated that under the EU-Morocco agreement, the export quotas for tomatoes have already been set.
Last season, Morocco exported approximately 423,000 tonnes of tomatoes to the EU, of which 256,000 tonnes were subject to the aforementioned quotas.