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Study Shows: PNG Global Sourcing Not Harming EU Tuna Industry

A European Union commissioned study has concluded that the “global sourcing” agreement on tuna between the EU and PNG is not harming the EU industry and its tuna canning sector in particular. In response to these findings, the EC last week officially presented the final version of the study to PNG authorities and discussed the results.

The European Commission (EC) had earlier released the external consultants’ study on the derogation from standard Rules of Origin granted to Pacific countries in the framework of the European Union-Pacific interim EPA.

The study, which was financed by the EU, was performed by independent experts and was started in July and was finalized in December 2011.

The EU -Pacific agreement was initialed by Papua New Guinea (PNG) and Fiji in 2007 and signed in 2009, but ratified and applied only by PNG.

A special derogation to the standard Rules of Origin (RoO) for processed fish was negotiated, as part of the agreement. This derogation or ‘global sourcing’ allows Pacific ACP countries (PACPs) to source raw material from any vessel regardless of flag or where it was caught, as long as it has been ‘substantially transformed’ by a PACP-based processing facility into canned tuna or frozen cooked loins.

This special deal was offered exclusively to PACPs because of their geographical isolation and distance from the EU, the limited fishing capacity of their fleets, their reduced processing capability due to physical and economic factors and their low identified risk of destabilizing the EU market.

The study analyzed the development effects on PNG economy (long-term income and employment generation); effective conservation and sustainable management of fishing resources, including support for combating illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean; and impacts on the EU canned tuna market and fishing and canned tuna processing industry.

According to the study, the global sourcing is positively effecting the development of PNG, while at the same time either not harming or harming in a limited way the EU industry and its tuna canning sector in particular; that there is a mixed bag of results in terms of possible depletion of fisheries’ stocks in the Pacific region, and environmental protection; and that challenges remain in the field of labor and women’s rights in PNG.

In response to these findings, the EC took advantage of the second EU-Pacific interim EPA Trade Committee in Port Moresby, PNG last week to officially present the final version of the study to PNG authorities and discuss the results.
During the Committee meeting, the EC held formal consultations in which the PNG authorities outlined the steps already taken and their plans to further strengthen the sustainable management of fish stocks; the review of their domestic labor legislation aimed at bringing it fully into line with the eight core International Labor Organization (ILO) conventions; and the measures already in place and further steps to improve environmental monitoring.