Faroese ask for WTO help with EU sanctions
Officials with the Faroe Islands are asking for help from the World Trade Organization (WTO) in the ongoing dispute with the European Union and Norway over herring and mackerel trade sanctions put in place last year.
E.U. officials have accused Iceland and the Faroes of fishing beyond their allotted quota for both species, while both nations have maintained that stocks have migrated en masse into their waters, making it safe for them to fish the species at higher levels.
In August 2013, the European Commission levied trade sanctions against the Faroes, forbidding the country, which is a self-governing province of Denmark, from exporting herring and mackerel in any form to the E.U. The commission has since promised to levy similar sanctions against Iceland.
The Faroese claim the sanctions violate WTO rules, and are demanding a third-party ruling on the matter, according to a statement from the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development, a nonprofit group based in Geneva.
"As fish products constitute more than 95 percent of Faroese exports, the stakes are high for the tiny archipelago of about 50,000 people," the Centre said in its statement.
An initial request for a panel from Denmark itself was shot down recently, the Faroese may file another request, which will automatically force the WTO to establish a panel to discuss the matter, according to the centre.