I wrote to a number of our North West MEPs about EU’s trade with Israel, and received in reply, what I consider patronising nonsense. That the only thing that matters is the economic benefits of trading with Israel and not the continuing criminal acts of the illegal Sate of Israel. As the article below, points out, the Israelis are still mislabelling produce, so they can sell it in the EU
Mehadrin: New evidence of mislabelled settlement produce | Corporate Watch.
Here is the response from Robert Sturdy MEP Conservative Spokesman,Vice-Chairman, International Trade Committee:
Thank you for your email regarding this subject. I have received a number of emails relating to this issue and have passed them onto my colleague Robert Sturdy who is the Vice-Chairman of the International Trade Committee and Conservative Spokesman on the same subject, therefore he has a better understanding of these issues, his response is outlined below.
Jacqueline Foster MEP
MEP for North West England
Conservative Spokesman for Transport and Tourism
Response of Robert Sturdy MEP
Thank you for contacting me about the Protocol to the Euro-Mediterranean Agreement establishing an association between the European Communities and their Member States, of the one part, and the State of Israel, of the other part, on Conformity Assessment and Acceptance of Industrial Products (CAA).
The EU-Israel CAA, until recently known as ACAA, is a technical framework agreement which aims at facilitating the elimination of technical barriers to trade in respect of certain industrial products, through the mutual recognition and harmonisation of technical standards. The CAA could be hugely beneficial to the EU as it could significantly reduce costs of imported pharmaceutical products into the EU and save time-to-market conditions (saving 1-3 years for every market product) for imported medicinal products both from Israel and the EU.
Although primarily an economic agreement, I think that it has the potential of not only bringing benefits to European consumers and importers of pharmaceutical products but also of helping to foster stability in the region by facilitating further harmonisation between EU and Israeli Law in the relevant areas.
From the perspectives of the Conservative members of the International Trade Committee (INTA), we believe that this particular agreement to be purely technical issue that should be judged on its trade merits alone. Furthermore it is simply a protocol to an already existing agreement between the EU and Israel.
However, this is not to say that the wider issues surrounding the Agreement are not valid. The Conservatives in the European are acutely aware of the ongoing situation in the Middle East and are supportive of peace efforts based on the Oslo Peace accords, the road map for peace and the quartet with a viable two state solution based roughly upon the 1967 borders, with land for peace exchanges taking place. Both sides need to realise their commitments to Human Rights and International Law. The EU can play a major role in bringing peace to the Middle East but it must be seen as fair and impartial. A similar agreement with the Palestinian Authority was agreed a number of months ago and I believe it would be hypocritical of the EU if it rejects this agreement.
Having said this, the Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee (AFET), which has the experience and expertise to give this issue the attention it deserves, has provided an Opinion on the ramifications vis-à-vis the situation in the Middle East which was passed on to all INTA members. Both the AFET and INTA Committees decided to submit a question to the Commission in a bid to address some of their concerns with regards to this agreement. The Commission has offered concrete assurances that the agreement is in conformity with EU legal commitments.
With regards, to the production of goods in the Occupied Territories, the EU has been clear it will not accept products originating from the Israeli Occupied Territories. This is prohibited under Community law which means that products coming from places (city, village or industrial zone) brought under Israeli Administration since 1967 are not entitled to benefit from preferential tariff treatment under the EU-Israel Association Agreement. This issue has been addressed in the INTA Committee in order to make sure that the CAA is in compliance with existing legislation.
The European Parliament voted in favour of the consent procedure concerning the additional protocol on conformity assessment on the 18th October 2012, with 379 votes in favour.
We will continue to correspond with civil society from both sides of the dispute and we will continue to monitor developments. Rest assured that the wider political situation, alongside the economic benefits, will not be ignored by the INTA Committee or by the Parliament at large.
Robert Sturdy MEP
MEP for East of England
Vice-Chairman of the International Trade committee