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Strong Opposition Against New EU-Pacific Tuna Trade Agreement

In an official note, the European Council confirmed its decision to approve the EU-Pacific Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA).

The Agreement would apply to Papua New Guinea and Fiji, subscribers of the interim pact.

The European canning industry is strongly protesting against this partnership agreement between the European Community and the Pacific States, which, according to them, would revoke the rules of origin for processed tuna from Papua New Guinea and Fiji.

The official document of the Agreement doesn’t exactly mention the derogation of the rules of origin and it’s very vague in specifying the changes to be done in this aspect:

“In the period of the five years following the entry into force of this Agreement the Parties shall review the operation of these provisions, with a view to further simplifying the concepts and methods used for the purpose of determining origin in the light of the development needs of the Pacific States”.

“In such review, full consideration shall be given to providing certainty for investors, the development of technologies and production processes and all other factors, including on-going reforms of rules of origin and the establishment of appropriate mechanisms for administrative cooperation between the Parties and the Pacific States as the case may be, which may require modifications to the provisions of this Protocol”.

The grounds for such a request were a supposed lack of tuna supply from EU and ACP origin for PNG and Fiji’s processing plants.

European canners believe this is just a diversion that will enable Asian tuna to enter the European markets exempt from import duty.

The Spanish canning industry representatives affirmed that if insufficient supply was really the problem, Papua New Guinea wouldn’t have opposed to the EU fleet’s access to the Western and Central Pacific ocean previously.

The main investments in the country are from the Philippines, Thailand, Taiwan and China, which seem to be expanding their purse-seiner fleet in the area.