Norway seeks WTO help in disputed EU seal hunt ban

Maideline Sanchez

From the Associated Press

OSLO – Norway has joined Canada in asking the World Trade Organization to settle its seal hunt dispute with the European Union.

Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere said Thursday that Norway has formally requested WTO assistance in mediating the trade dispute, which erupted after the 27-nation EU banned seal products earlier this year. The ban goes into effect in August 2010.

Stoere says the regulation runs “contrary” to trade obligations laid out by the WTO, adding that Norway “will not let this go uncontested.” Canada lodged a similar request Monday.

Animal rights groups have long protested seal hunting, calling it inhumane. Norwegian officials, meanwhile, say it’s a sustainable and carefully regulated part of Norway’s wildlife management policy.