The Principality of Andorra and the European Union announced Friday to have met an agreement on the free circulation of goods that includes a 30-year transitional period for tobacco during which it will be outside of the Customs Union regime. “Thirty years is the longest transitional period we ever accepted in the international negotiations context,’’ underlined the EU head negotiator Mr. Thomas Mayr-Harting, during a press conference.
After seven years, however, customs rights will be progressively suspended, stipulated Mr. Mayr-Harting, assuring that he appreciates the possibility of closing this tobacco file, “a thorny issue,’’ because it is an “important sector for government revenue, the economy, the working world’’ in Andorra.
The other agricultural products, on the other hand, will enter directly into the customs union, indicated the Andorran Foreign Affairs Minister, Mrs. Maria Ubach, pleased to have obtained thirty years to diversify the Andorran economy and depend less on tobacco revenue.
In return for the long transitional period, according to both parties, the Principality committed itself to applying European directives with relation to tobacco, reinforcing the fight against trafficking, increasing the price difference of tobacco with Spain and ratifying the OMS agreement to fight tobacco addiction.
In contrast, the agreed protocol specifies that commercial franchises will be maintained, and taxation excluded from the agreement, which means that Andorra keeps its fiscal sovereignty.
These discussions stand within the framework of the negotiations on the association agreement between Andorra and EU which began three years ago and will “become more intense during the months to come,’’ for the intention is to conclude the technical aspects from here to the end of 2018/beginning 2019.
The Brussels Times