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Thai Canned Tuna Industry Sees Arabian Markets Slip Away

Thailand, the world’s greatest canned tuna producer, hasn’t been able to recover the market share its product used to have in most countries in 2008. During the first 8 months of 2009, the country exported 309.427 M/T of canned tuna, 10% less than the same period last year.

United States, Thai’s main market, Canada and United Kingdom were some of the few countries that increased their imports of Thai canned tuna by 7%, 9% and 17% respectively.

Thailand’s former growing markets have not been able to sustain the same volumes. Especially the Arabian countries seem to have been affected by the economical crisis and exports of canned tuna to these markets are getting lower by the month. Australia, which sources most of its canned tuna coming from Thailand since the creation of Thailand-Australia Free Trade Agreement (TAFTA), in 2005, received 22% less during 2009 than last year reaching 20.812 M/T this August.

Once the alternative market to the 24% duty over canned tuna to be exported to the European Union, the Middle East countries have shown volume export losses.

Exports to Egypt, Libya and Saudi Arabia were down in 29%, 11% and 36% respectively. (See table)