A Spanish tuna purse seiner. (Photo: TunaSeiners)
European tuna producers require Brussels 'to restore rules of origin'
Wednesday, April 18, 2012, 04:10 (GMT + 9)
The association of Eurothon tuna producers required the EC to review the economic agreement signed between the European Union (EU) and Papua New Guinea and Fiji so as to re-set the obligation to prove the traded products are from those territories.
The request was made by Juan Manuel Vieites, Eurothon president, to the head of the Directorate General for Trade of the EC, Peter Thompson.
The organization urges the EU executive to "restore the balance of the global tuna industry by re-setting the rules of origin, which should have never been repealed."
Under the trade pact with Pacific countries all the tuna that has gone through a canning plant located within its borders is considered to be from Papua New Guinea despite being captured by a foreign flagged vessel.
In this regard, Vieites argues that this agreement will turn Papua New Guinea into a large tuna platform with the arrival of international multinational firms, contributing to the increase of production and of exports to Europe under unbeatable conditions, which will affect community industrial tuna producers.
For the president of Eurothon, the repeal of the rules of origin is "irresponsible" and runs the risk of "setting a precedent" for future negotiations on other trade agreements. In this sense, the organization expressed concern about the discussions the EU will have with Vietnam.
For the tuna industrial producers, it is essential that the EC qualifies canned products as "sensitive" and avoids granting tariff preferences or derogations of rules of origin.
Vieites complained that the EC is "insensitive to the demands of the industry," according to EFE agency.
In 2010, the EU imported 371,000 tonnes of canned tuna and out of that total, 15,585 tonnes came from Papua New Guinea.
Meanwhile, Community tuna producers produced 350,000 tonnes of canned tuna, of which only 19,000 tonnes were sold outside the EU.
Spain is the leader of the sector in the EU, with 67 per cent of the total production. It is followed by Italy with 18 per cent, France with 10 per cent and Portugal, with 4 per cent.
- Impact of tuna industry agreement with Papua under study
By Analia Murias