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Spanish Canners Want 30,000 M/T Of Tuna Loins Duty Free To Survive Spain, September 19, 12

The industrial canners joined at the National Association of Manufacturers of Canned Fish and Shellfish (Anfaco-Cecopesca) claim that the Spanish Executive should require the European Union (EU) authorities “the need for a quota of 30,000 tons of pre-cooked tuna loins per year without tariffs.”

For the industry, the supply of raw materials at a good price is crucial for the production cost not to be increased and for the Galician industry to be able to remain competitive with emerging countries.

In 2011, the landings of frozen whole tuna for processing totaled 127,000 tons, an amount that is inferior to that in previous years.

The decline seen in recent years is due to the fact that the Community tuna fleet sells its catches in accordance with the supply and the demand. Therefore, the tuna caught in the Pacific and Indian oceans no longer reach Europe but are sold in Southeast Asia, La Voz de Galicia reported.

In this regard, Anfaco warned that if there are not enough raw materials at competitive prices, the entry of foreign cans will be allowed “with a very serious and really irreversible destruction of jobs.”

According to the available data, in 2010 the EU imported 545,172 tons of canned tuna, of which 371,802 were from third countries. And last year, Spain bought about 20,000 tons of Ecuadorian tuna loins.

Only a small part of the raw material arrives fresh: 1,200 tons per year. Meanwhile, whole pieces of frozen tuna exceed 62,000 tons and those of loins, 66,000 tons.

Meanwhile, the Spanish canning industry claims that the opportunities provided by the EU to countries such as Papua New Guinea are enabling a dramatic development of the industry in this region.

Canned tuna from this area is ‘flooding’ European and US markets at a price that is 35 per cent lower than the Galician canned product.

Papua New Guinea has three major canneries and another one will become operational this month, the firm Majestic Seafood, as part of an initiative involving the Philippines and Thailand.

For Juan Manuel Vieites, Anfaco Secretary General, under the trade agreement reached between the EU and Papua, “fishing is a bargaining chip.”

The tariff liberalization “is allowing host countries of these agreements to increase their market quota in the EU,” placing the Spanish and Galician industry “at a competitive disadvantageous position against their major rivals,” Vieites insisted.