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EU Ratifies Free Trade Deal With Colombia And Peru European Union, December 19, 12

Christmas came early for tuna processors in Peru and Colombia last week when the EU approved free trade agreements with both countries.
Products from Peru and Colombia – a major canned tuna exporter to Italy – currently benefit from low or zero tariffs at the EU border, but that is set to expire in 2013, so this deal could not come at a better time. The EU also benefits as it has been working to sign trade deals with promising countries in Asia and Latin America to restore its economy.
In 2011, the volume of tuna exports from Colombia to the EU – consisting of canned tuna, tuna loins and whole round frozen tuna – climbed by 20% to reach 14,427 tons from 2010. Colombia mostly delivered canned tuna to the EU and the majority of these goods went to Italy.
Peru, which largely exports tuna loins to Spain, saw its total tuna shipments to the EU drop to 1,429 tons in 2011, a 30% decrease since the previous year.

Ecuador, the countries’ regional neighbor and a more significant tuna player, however is still waiting for good news as its future position in the EU market remains uncertain. Ecuadorian tuna processors – some of whom belong to Spanish-owned companies such as Conservas Isabel Ecuatoriana SA and Salica Del Ecuador SA – are hoping the Ecuadorian government and the EU will meet at the beginning of next year to renew the current agreement, which expires at the end of 2013 and allows Ecuador’s tuna products to enter the EU at 0% duty.

Anfaco, the group that represents Spain’s canning industry, is also seeking to secure the trade deal because Spanish canneries are dependent on the Ecuadorian tuna supply. Last year, Ecuador was the largest exporter of both pre-cooked frozen tuna loins and canned tuna to Spain and without an agreement, the products could be slapped with a 24% tariff.