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Ecuador And EU Meet To Secure Zero Duty On Tuna

After continued expressions of interest by Ecuador to venture into a free tuna trade agreement with the European Union (EU), negotiations are being made in Brussels this week to decide on whether the request will be granted.
Ecuador seeks zero duty on tuna exports to the EU as part of the European Partnership Agreement (EPA) joining a group of countries for which this trade benefit has already been approved.
Tuna is one of Ecuador’s most important businesses with the EU, exporting large quantities of canned tuna, mainly to Spain, Germany, United Kingdom, the Netherlands, France and Italy, and the agreement will enable this country to maintain its position within the competitive EU tuna market, which is for more than 70% supplied by countries having special trade agreements with the community.

If the appeal is denied by the European Commission and the External Action Service, then Ecuador’s exports could face a massive 24 percent duty when imported into the EU, giving its products no appeal in a hugely competitive market when faced against other South American countries like Columbia and Peru with whom the trade benefit has already been agreed. This would have devastating effects on an important market for Ecuador.

German Chancellor, Angela Merkel in April backed the appeal from Ecuador during talks with Ecuadorian President, Rafael Correa, saying: “Ecuador has made clear again that it has a great interest in joining the group of countries which have European Partnership Agreement (EPA). I have said for my part that I will speak to the European Commission to maybe give some impetus for negotiations.”

Correa lobbied for investment in his country, which has the highest growth rate in Latin America.
“We have a great dynamic. These are good times to invest in our country.” he said.
Discussions will begin this week in Brussels and formal negotiations are due to start in September and be completed by January next year.