Fish canning factory. (Photo: Anfaco)
Canning industry questioned Papua’s benefits
Friday, August 24, 2012, 23:20 (GMT + 9)
Several representatives of the Spanish canning industry reaffirmed their concern over the increasing use of canned tuna native to Papua New Guinea (PNG), which they relate to the benefits granted by Brussels to their competitors.
"It was a really serious mistake to allow tuna having fewer requirements than those for a community canning producer to enter the European Union (EU) and we do not want to stop competition but we want to have the same rules as others," said the firm Jealsa Escurís chief executive, Jesus Manuel Alonso Escurís.
He also commented that some entrepreneurs may consider it likely to manufacture products in the Asian country "not because they want to do so but for survival reasons."
The expansion of Asian tuna follows the agreement signed between the EU and Papua, which considers the release of tariffs on their exports to the EU market and of the rules of origin of the raw material, La Opinión reported.
Meanwhile, the opening of the eighth canning plant in Papua is expected with capitals from Thai and Filipino entrepreneurs.
This factory is expected to exceed Galician and Spanish production of canned tuna in a few months.
"The volume is such that it can be a really serious problem. We can not accept exceptional standards for that area because neither the investors nor the workers are from the same country," the chief executive of one of the main canneries from Galicia added.
Meanwhile, the sources of the Galician multinational firm Calvo dismissed a possible installation in Papua.
"Impossible. It has not been envisaged. Our strategy is directed on a different way – to Latin America -- and what we hope is that the European authorities can see the serious risk of their decisions for the European industry," said a company spokesperson.
What once was a "major concern," is now "a fact," he stressed.
"Anticipating what was coming on our way, we bet on innovation and internationalization in South or Central America and so we can now continue investing and creating jobs because if we had continued operating only in Spain, it would have been the last straw," added the spokesperson.
The director general of Industrias Cerdeimar, Carlos Cerdeiras, stated the threat of Papua is "very, very worrying."
"The canning industry is committed to manufacturing here provided we are allowed to do so and expect those from abroad should have the same requirements as we do as to fish legal status, wages, working and health conditions," he pointed out.
The National Association of Manufacturers of Canned Fish and Shellfish (Anfaco-Cecopesca) recalled that while the presence of European ships is limited in the area of Papua," China develops an important seine tuna fleet, changing from 5 vessels to 30 in two years while the EU fleet has been limited to operating in the area since 2000 with only four ships."
"If the true intention [of PNG] had been to ensure the supply of certified origin tuna from Papua New Guinea, it could have favoured the access of the EU fleet to this area and not that of our competitors such as the Philippines, Thailand, Taiwan and China," it was emphasized at Anfaco.
- Biggest tuna cannery in the country to open soon
- European tuna producers require Brussels 'to restore rules of origin'
By Analia Murias
Photo Courtesy of FIS Member ANFACO-CECOPESCA - Asociacion Nacional de Fabricantes de Conservas de Pescados y Mariscos-