The ceremony of the signing of the Agreements between the European Economic Community and Norway and the Agreement between the Member States of the European Coal and Steel Community and the EEC on one hand, and Norway on the other, together with the Final Acts, took place on Monday 14 May 1973 at 12.00 in the main hall of the Egmont Palace in Brussels.
(1) The list of delegations will be issued separately
Following the Norwegian referendum on accession to the Community, and after the Heads of State and of Government of the Member States of the Community had recorded at the Summit conference in October 1972 the political will to seek a rapid settlement for Norway, negotiations between the Community and Norway were opened in November 1972, with a view to establishing free trade links of the same kind as those existing between the Community and the other EFTA countries. These negotiations were concluded on 16 April 1973.
An Agreement between the European Economic Community and the Kingdom of Norway on EEC products, and an Agreement on ECSC products between the Member States of the ECSC and the ECSC, on one hand, and the Kingdom of Norway on the other, were also signed.
The aim of the Agreements is to establish free trade between the Community and Norway for industrial products, subject to appropriate safeguard machinery.
Apart from these Agreements, the Community has also granted Norway partial tariff concessions on some of its fish products. These tariff concessions which apply to frozen fish fillets, deep-frozen peopled shrimps and preserved sprats and crab, will be gradually implemented in order to reach the final rate of reduction on 1 July 1977.
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Background: The ceremony of the signing of the Agreements between the European Economic Community and Norway and the Agreement between the Member States of the European Coal and Steel Community and the EEC on one hand, and Norway on the other, together with the Final Acts, took place on Monday 14 May 1973 at 12.00 in the main hall of the Egmont Palace in Brussels.
The ceremony was presided over by Mr. VAN ELSLANDE, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Belgium, President in Office of the Council of the European Communities and of the Conference of the Governments of the Member States.
The Norwegian delegation was led by H.E. Mr. Hallvard EIKA, Minister of Trade and Shipping and by H.E. Mr. Jens EVENSEN, Ambassador, and Head of the Norwegian delegation for the negotiations.
The delegations of the Community and the Nine Member States, made up of Ministers, State Secretaries, Ambassadors and senior officials were led by their plenipotentiaries (1):
Also present at the ceremony were: the Heads of the Austrian, Finnish, Icelandic, Portuguese, Swedish and Swiss Missions to the European Communities and a Representative of the Principality of Liechtenstein.
Speeches were made by Mr. VAN ELSLANDE, President in office of the Council of the European Communities and of the Conference of Governments of the Member States, Sir Christopher SOAMES, Vice-President of the Commission of the European Communities, and Mr. H. EIKA, Minister of Trade and Shipping of the Kingdom of Norway. They stressed the importance of the Agreements that had been signed, which would enable the traditional ties of trade and friendship existing between Norway and its partners to be consolidated and strengthened, following the enlargement of the Community.
It is expected that the Agreement between the European Economic Community and Norway will enter into force on 1 July of this year.
The ECSC Agreement will enter into force after its ratification by the National Parliaments of the Member States and Norway, but the generalised preferences laid down in the Agreement will be applied (autonomously and on a reciprocal basis) by all Parties as from the date on which the tariff reductions for EEC products are introduced (1 July 1973); this is analogous to the solution adopted in the case of Austria, Portugal, Sweden and Switzerland.
Thus, the Agreements provide that customs duties already abolished between Norway and the two former members, the United Kingdom and denmark, which joined the Community should remain so; also provided for is an extension of these free trade arrangements to the Six founder members of the Community, together with Ireland and Norway, Subject to a transitional period.
In the latter case, customs duties will be abolished according to the following timetable:
1 July 1973#20%
1 January 1974#20%
1 January 1975#20%
1 January 1976#20%
1 July 1977#20%
There will however be a longer transitional period for certain sensitive products.
The Community has made special arrangements for the paper and paperboard sector, as is the case in the other Agreements concluded with the EFTA countries: the period of tariff dismantling is extended to 1 January 1984, and is coupled with a system of indicative ceilings to give early warning of large increases in imports into the Community that might disturb the market equilibrium in this delicate sector. Thus when Community imports from Norway exceed a total for each product previously fixed on the basis of imports during the last four years for which statistics are available, the Community will be able to re-apply the full CCT duty for the remainder of the calendar year. The ceilings will be raised by 5% each year. To start with, no ceiling has been set for a number of products in the paper and paperboard sector, but the Community has reserved the right to introduce ceilings for these products during the transitional tariff dismantling period of 11 years; if this does in fact prove necessary, the ceilings will be set on the basis of imports during the last four year for which statistics are available.
Also to be noted in the paper sector is that the United Kingdom and Denmark will re-introduce customs duties vis-a-vis Norway in stages up to 1 July 1977, and then gradually reduce them with a view to their complete abolition by 1 January 1984. The effects of this measure will however be balanced by the right these two States will have to open zero-duty tariff quotas with regard to Norway.
For a number of other products the Community has extended the tariff dismantling period to seven years so as to be in a position to abolish duties completely on 1 January 1980. The products covered by the special arrangements are silicone carbide, most ferro-alloys, unwrought zinc, unwrought magnesium and also regenerated fibres. Most of these products will be subject up to 31 December 1970 to ceiling arrangements similar to those made for the paper and paperboard sector.
Two types of products are subject to somewhat special arrangements: unwrought aluminium and semi-finished aluminium products. Unwrought aluminium is covered by seven year tariff dismantling arrangements, as are the majority of the other sensitive products, but the ceiling system will be retained for a further two years after tariff exemption has been reached, i.e. until the end of 1981. The initial ceiling, fixed at 190,000 metric tons, will be increased progressively during this period, that is: three times by 3%, twice by 5% and three times by 10%. It should be noted that temporary entry under processing traffic
arrangements does not affect the ceiling and that the volume of these imports has been estimated at 120,000 metric tons for the enlarged Community. The ceiling total will be adjusted in the event of this estimate proving too high. Finally, tariff dismantling with regard to unwrought aluminium will take place a little more slowly to start with than is the case with the other sensitive products.
The ceiling arrangements for semi-finished aluminium products are similar to those for the other sensitive products but as with unwrought aluminium, tariff dismantling will be carried out more slowly.
Norway for its part has drawn up two lists of products that are subject to slower tariff dismantling over period of seven and eleven years. Norway does not expect that indicative ceilings will be established for these products to start with, but it reserves the right to bring in these ceiling arrangements if necessary while the Agreement is being implemented. Among these products, particular mention should be given to those in the textile and clothing sectors, colour television sets, plastic goods, shoes, electric appliances etc.
The Agreements with Norway lay down, as do all the other Agreements between the Community and the EFTA countries, the necessary procedures for the attainment of harmonious free trade, in spite of the fact that those Agreements provide for neither custom union, nor compulsory harmonisation of laws except, to some extent, as regards price rules for products within the ECSC Treaty.
The rules of origin included in the Agreements are the same as those given in the other Agreements with the EFTA countries and apply not only to relations between Norway and the enlarged Community but also to relations between Norway and the other EFTA countries.
As regards institutions, the Agreements allow for the setting up of a Joint Committee which will normally except in emergency meet twice a year for the purpose of managing the free trade arrangements, especially customs questions and rules of origin.
It should also be noted that as in most of the other Agreements, the Agreements negotiated with Norway contain an adaptation clause which allows for the possible extension of the relations established to fields not yet covered by the Agreements.
For frozen fish fillets coming under Heading No 03.01 and Heading No e 16.04 G, the present duties of 15% and 20% respectively will be reduced to 3%; for deep-frozen peeled shrimps coming under Heading No ex 16.05 B, the present duty of 20% will be reduced to 7.5%; for preserved sprats coming under Heading No 16.04 G, the present duty of 20% will be reduced to 12%, and for preserved crab the present duty of 16% will be reduced to 7.5%.
Norway for its part, has made certain autonomous concessions to the Community on agricultural products, mainly in the horticultural and fruit and vegetable sectors.