Gomes da costa and Coqueiro dominate 90 per cent of the national market. (Photo: Stock File/ FIS)
Sardine prices increase
Tuesday, August 03, 2010, 04:10 (GMT + 9)
Gomes da Costa and Coqueiro dominate 90 per cent of a market worth BRL 2 billion (USD 1.13 million) whilst Ampex imports sardines and canned tuna from Thailand and distributes the products under the brand name Beira-Mar in Brazil.
Ampex insist that such imports are necessary to supply the domestic market. During the first five months of this year, Ampex bought USD 7 million worth of Thai fish.
On 25 June, the Chamber of Foreign Trade
(CAMEX) issued a resolution which reduced excise tax for imports of frozen sardines from 10 per cent to 2 per cent. This measure will be enforced until 31 August, which is during the closure of the pelagic fishing season.
Meanwhile, the import tax for canned sardines rose from 16 to 32 per cent.
Before the tax increase came into affect, Coqueiro and Gomes da Costa had accused Ampex of "increasing imports" of canned sardines.
In 2009, Brazil imported only 114 tonnes of canned sardines, however, during the first half of 2010, 1,914 tonnes were bought from abroad.
"Now, sardines, which is an important food for classes C and D, arrives here with a tax rate of 32 per cent. The normal procedure when products arrive in Brazil with low production costs and exert unfair competition, is to launch an anti-dumping process," said the president of Ampex, José Eduardo Simão, according to Correio Braziliense.
The Ministry argues that the importation of large quantities of sardines is a threat to the national fisheries sector.
"He [Simão] prefers to attack the major industries instead of recognising that we have a fleet of 200 vessels catching only that species and that they [Ampex] import a final product which does not create jobs here," explains Director of Planning and Land Use of the MPA, Karim Bacha.
For his part, Simão clarified that they only import 5 per cent from foreign markets. "That's not a threat," he says.
By Analia Murias