Commissioner Franz Fischler
Rue de la Roi 200
Your ref:VI.B.II/2/CL/cl D(97) 2859 also D(98) 1063 CL/cl
24 November 1998
Dear Commissioner Fischler
IMPORT BAN ON INDIAN DRIED FISH PRODUCTS - BOMBAY DUCK
I expect you are by now aware of the extensive press and media coverage I have arranged to highlight your effective, but unjustified, ban on the importation of Indian Bombay Duck into the UK. By now many millions of people know that you have denied us this popular dried product, no doubt unintentionally, through your regulations designed for fresh and frozen fish. I emphasised that you have confirmed there is no adverse sanitary evidence against Bombay Duck.
The Indian export authority informs me that they are willing to conform to a strict code of practice for the production of Bombay Duck. This should satisfy you that there is no more risk from Bombay Duck as from the many other sun-dried products allowed into the UK.
Your effective ban on Bombay Duck contravenes the World Trade Organisation Agreement on Sanitary and Phytosanitory Measures. You have barred a product without any analysis and assessment of objective scientific data. I have written to our Minister for Trade and Industry with the request that he lodges a protest with the WTO against the European Commission for contravening WTO rules.
Now would be a very good time to review your regulations and make the appropriate amendments that will allow imports of Bombay Duck to resume, just as they did in the past. Such an action would reflect favourably on the EC.
My campaign to save Bombay Duck from the EC ban is moving into the next phase. When this is complete I will arrange further mass media coverage against your unreasonable but effective ban on our favourite accompaniment to curry.
I can report an excellent response to my campaign from the public.
I look forward to a favourable response to my request.