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NORWAY - The EU decision to lift sanctions against Norwegian salmon exports will give Norwegian producers a firmer base according to fisheries minister Helga Pedersen.

Norwegian Fisheries Minister, Helga Pedersen.

The EU Council of Ministers ended sanctions against Norwegian salmon exports, last Thursday, marking the end of a 20 year long dispute.

After debate in the EU's Anti-dumping Committee, the United Kingdom and Ireland were the only countries opposed to scrapping the extra import duty.

Norway and the EU have disagreed about minimum prices since their introduction in 2006, says a report in Afterposten.. They were the last of a series of conflicts concerning exports of Norwegian salmon to the EU.

Norway finally decided to lodge a complaint with the World Trade Organization (WTO). A WTO panel last December found in favour of the Norwegian authorities on 22 points and the EU on 15 points of disagreement.

"I'm very pleased. This shows that we were right to take the matter to the WTO," Fisheries Minister, Helga Pedersen told Aftenposten.

"We hope that this case will make accusations of price-dumping against Norwegian fish exporters less likely in future. We are however aware that the EU will be monitoring the Norwegian market closely in future," added Ms Pedersen.

Producers greeted the decision with jubilation. The Norwegian Seafood Federation (FHL) believes that the various punitive duties and accusations of price dumping have cost salmon exporters untold millions over the 20 years the conflict has lasted, Aftenposten reports.

The Norwegian Seafood Export Council (EFF) says that this decision removes barriers to the EU market.

View the Aftenposten story by clicking here.