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Strong Rise in PNG Tuna Exports Alarms Spanish Industry

From 2011 to 2012 the European Union imported 25 percent more canned tuna from Papua New Guinea, rising from just over 15,500 tons to 19,500 tons. EU imports of pre-cooked loins from PNG also increased by a huge 50 percent. The numbers are raising protests from the Spanish tuna canning sector.

The commercial advantages granted by the EU to Papua New Guinea regarding the import of canned tuna in the EU market as part of the Interim Economic Partnership Agreement  (IEPA) has been in force since 2008 and has been implemented to increase production, and economic return to the country.  Since 2010 it has created a rise in PNG exports to the EU, where Spain and its region Galicia play a leading role the production of canned tuna.
The Spanish organization of Canned Seafood Producers, ANFACO, said that in 2007, the year before entry into the trade agreement, PNG, with three processing plants had a production volume of around 180,000 tons. “Today, five years later, the situation has changed dramatically,” says Anfaco, recalling that PNG now has four operating tuna processing plants, two in construction and three under negotiation.
Anfaco also suggested “without the development of new plants for canned and processed tuna, PNG could not have increased its market share in the EU by 25 percent.”
The Spanish canning employer understands that the “favorable conditions” offered by Brussels to PNG has already resulted in new projects for tuna processing plants sponsored by large, multinational companies. It is believed PNG’s production could reach estimates of 700,000 tons to supply to the EU market. PNG is the only tuna processing country which has been granted a combination of duty free access to the EU , and “global sourcing “. This enables the country to take tuna from any flag nation, process it, and export it to the EU without paying import duties.
For years Anfaco has opposed to this agreement and says that it offers a “unique advantage” and has increased competition in community market access for tuna products. Most of the PNG exports of pre-cooked loins went to Spanish canneries located in Galicia. Most canned products was shipped to Germany and the UK.