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ANFACO Strongly Opposes Free Trade With Thailand On Tuna

Last week the Board of ANFACO-CECOPESCA, headed by its Secretary General, Mr. Juan M. Vieites Baptista de Sousa, met the Chairman of the Committee on Agriculture, Fisheries and Food of the Senate in Spain.
Among the main points discussed at this meeting was the present status of the various trade negotiations being undertaken by the European Union (EU) with third countries, along with the expected impact that the outcome of these negotiations may have on the tuna processing and canning industry in Spain.
Special attention was asked for the recent launch of bilateral negotiations on the Free Trade Agreement between the EU and Thailand. ANFACO-CECOPESCA is of the opinion that Thailand is the main competitor of the Spanish canning industry by exporting 75,000 M/T of canned tuna to the EU market annually, making it one of the largest exporters to the EU market after Ecuador.
Therefore, ANFACO-CECOPESCA wants that the European Commission to exclude canned tuna from these negotiations and maintain the most solid and rules of origin, making regional accumulation impossible. This is motivated as being necessary in the current situation to preserve the competitiveness of the Spanish tuna processing industry and European seafood canning sector, which all serve the EU market.
ANFACO-CECOPESCA sees the need for a framework that creates a level playing field for fair competition within the EU market also for products from third countries, so that all operators, both EU and third countries, will all be subjected to the same compliance with EU community standards. This refers to standards regarding IUU, sustainability, health and hygiene, food safety, labor, considering the framework established by the ILO conventions, health and safety at work, environment and respect to resources, traceability and origin of the raw materials, correct, complete and unambiguous labeling of fishery products... among others. The Spanish organization demands rigorous monitoring and enforcement of all these aspects and adopting the necessary punitive measures in case of violations.