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ANFACO: “PNG Has Been Very Damaging To Spanish Tuna Industry”

Juan Vieites, secretary general, of the Spanish National Association of Manufacturers of Canned Fish and Seafood (ANFACO-CECOPESCA) met Tuesday with Carlos Dominguez, the Spanish secretary general of Fisheries of the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Environment.

Vieites presented Dominguez with ANFACO’s request for the European Union (EU) to authorize the import of 30,000 tons of pre-cooked tuna loins at zero duty tariff. Currently, a European Community (EC) decision is in effect that allows canners to import 15,000 tons of pre-cooked loins at a tariff of 6%.
Vieites said that “the needs” of the EU tuna processing industry are around 60,000 tons of loins per year and that this pre-processed material is required to maintain “the 12,000 direct jobs generated by the sector”.
ANFACO hopes that the European leaders will approve this new tariff quota in 2012, and that the measure will be in effect for the period from 2013 to 2015.
According to Vieites, the meeting with Dominguez had been “fantastic”, since he is “a familiar person” who knows ANFACO’s approach of “binding and scoring”.
Vieites said “we explained the situation of the processing sector,” referring to 2011 as being a “complicated” year in which companies discovered the “weakness” of the internal market but nevertheless managed to increase their exports. “We believe that situation in 2012 will be very similar”, he said.
However, the canned tuna manufacturers warned of rising cost of raw materials and that a species like tuna could “even become scarce,” so they advocated “to add value” to an “undervalued” product.
ANFACO has also informed the secretary general of Fisheries of its opinion on the situation in Papua New Guinea and its commitment “to maintain employment in Spain.” ANFACO said that Papua New Guinea’s impact “has been very damaging” to the Spanish industry, first of all in Europe and secondly worldwide. 
Trade export and import statistics show that Papua New Guinea has only 2 medium size canneries exporting to the European Union and these have mostly been running at half capacity for the last 5 years. Their share of total canned imports in the entire EU never exceeded 4%, hardly anything went to Spain. PNG exports mostly went to Germany – a market not being served by the Spanish industry at any scale for the last 20 years.
The need to continue promoting the consumption of fish and canned seafood or the fight against illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU), were also discussed at the meeting, as well as “responsible fishing”.