Juan Manuel Vieites, secretary general of ANAFACO. (Photo: Anfaco)
Impact of tuna industry agreement with Papua under study
Monday, January 30, 2012, 23:00 (GMT + 9)
The European Parliament (EP) asked the European Commission (EC) the development of a study on the future impact of the fisheries agreement with Papua New Guinea on the Community industry, specifically in tuna.
In recent months, complaints and warnings about the pact between the European Union (EU) and the Pacific countries increased. Among the latter, Papua is considered a "danger" to the community canning industry.
Today, the European seafood canning inustry is settled mainly in Spain, especially in Galicia.
According to Juan Manuel Vieites, secretary general of the National Association of Manufacturers of Canned Fish and Shellfish (ANFACO-CECOPESCA) said the study commissioned by Brussels to a consulting firm has already started.
A few days ago, the consultants arrived in Vigo to collect data on the situation of the Spanish and European tuna industry, said the official. Their next step is to travel to Papua to know about the country's situation regarding sustainability of marine resources, and the economic, environmental and even health and hygiene conditions in which the production of tuna is carried out, Faro de Vigo newspaper informed.
The document could be ready in April or May 2012. They are also awaiting the results of a study undertaken by ANFACO to know the social impact and consequences of bilateral fisheries agreement.
This agreement gives them the Pacific countries tax benefits and exemption from compliance with the rules of origin that the EU imposes on exports of canned fish.
For ANFACO and Eurothon officials, exemption from compliance with rules of origin will cause Thailand and the United States, among other countries, to establish their companies in Papua and have the privilege of increasing their tuna exports to the EU market on preferential terms.
Last year, Parliament gave the green light to the Interim Economic Partnership Agreement between the EU and the countries of the Pacific.
After hearing this agreement, ANFACO warned that the fishing industry was concerned about the "destabilizing effect" that could be the repeal of rules of origin for processed fishery products.
The Association stressed that despite the approval of the agreement, the EP called for the "suspension of the application of exceptional measures relating to rules of origin in case the above assessment report shows a destabilizing effect on the processing and canning of the EU’s fish industry.”
The European canning manufacturers expect the European Commission will finally agree to their demand to eliminate the advantages of the fisheries agreement.
Vieites estimated the production of that country would increased by 100 per cent in 2011, an estimated 700,000 tonnes of tuna, to the detriment of the European industry.
According to available data, in 2010 the EU imported from Papua New Guinea 15,585 tonnes of canned tuna. In total, 371,000 tonnes of that product entered the EU market in 2010.
For its part, the Community tuna industry produced 350,000 tonnes of canned tuna, of which only 19,000 tonnes were sold outside the EU.
- EU-Pacific agreement will harm the tuna industry, says EUROTHON
By Analia Murias
Photo Courtesy of FIS Member ANFACO-CECOPESCA - Asociacion Nacional de Fabricantes de Conservas de Pescados y Mariscos-