(Photo: Getty Images) Fish farm outside of ThorshavenThe Faroe Islands is seeking to bring its dispute with the EU over their herring and mackerel exports to the World Trade Organisation.

The Danish mission to Gevena filed a request to establish a WTO panel in the dispute, which pits the Faroe Islands, a self-governing member of the Danish Kingdom, against the EU, which it is not a member of.

The request will be dealt with at a forthcoming meeting of the WTO dispute settlement body on January 20.

Last November, the Faroe Islands announced that it had started WTO dispute settlement proceedings against the EU to challenge the bloc's trade sanctions against Faroese herring and mackerel.
The sanctions, introduced last August, ban all imports of herring and mackerel products from the Faroe Islands, and deny access to EU ports by vessels transporting these products. The measures set up the awkward situation of Faroese ships being unable to call on Danish ports.

In a statement accompanying the announcement, Kai Leo Johannesen, the Faroese premier, pointed out that his country was heavily dependent on fish exports, which he said constituted more than 95 percent of total Faroese exports.
"This step is therefore of major importance for the Faroe Islands, and a crucial step in order to ensure that the EU's coercive economic measure, whose purpose is exclusively to safeguard the interests of its domestic industry, will be withdrawn and revoked."
The ban against Faroese fish products has repercussions in Denmark, where Danish fishing boats have been banned from Norwegian waters due to the conflict.

The EU can oppose the request to set up a panel during the January meeting, but EU regulations require that the matter be taken up the following month to attempt to mediate the dispute. Previous attempts at resolution have failed.

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Source: the Arctic Journal 

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