EU-certified pharmaceuticals will be exported to Israel and vice-versa without requiring additional certification in the importing country, under a deal endorsed by Parliament on Tuesday, despite reservations that easing trade with Israel could send it the wrong political signal at this time.
After more than two years of extensive debate on whether upgrading trade relations might undermine the EU’s firm condemnation of Israeli policy towards the Palestinians, MEPs approved the mutual recognition deal with 379 votes in favour 230 against and 41 abstentions.
The EU-Israel agreement on mutual recognition of pharmaceutical certificates will remove technical barriers to trade, cut manufacturers’ costs and enable them to get their products to market faster. For European consumers, it will mean lower prices and a wider range of generic products.
The agreement will apply to all pharmaceuticals except for advanced therapy products, special medicinal products based on tissues and cells of human origin, and medicinal products that include blood products.
The EU concluded a trade liberalisation agreement with the Palestinian Authority a year ago.
The EU has mutual recognition agreements in place in this field with Australia, New Zealand, Japan and Switzerland, and is seeking to negotiate similar ones with most Mediterranean countries, including Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco and Tunisia.
(www.europarl.europa.eu / 23.10.2012)