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Accusation On Entry Of Philippine Cans “Smuggled” Via PNG Into The EU

According to Spanish Association, ANFACO, canned tuna processed in the Philippines is being smuggled, unloaded and re-loaded in containers, in Papua New Guinea (PNG) to obtain a zero duty advantage upon entering the European Union. Spanish newspaper, La Opinion A Coruna has reported these heavy allegations from ANFACO that a Philippine company, with processing facilities in PNG is illegally avoiding the 24 percent tariff charges on canned tuna exports to the EU through illegal transshipments, and falsification of documents. 

ANFACO has taken the strong allegations of smuggling to the European Commission and the Spanish Minister of Agriculture, Food and Environment, Miguel Aria Canete. Secretary General of ANFACO, Juan Manuel Vieites, said he would favor the launch of an investigation into the activities that are “clearly illegal.”  

The Spanish National Association of Manufacturers of Canned Fish and Seafood (ANFACO-Cecopesca) was quoted in the article saying that the Philippine produced canned tuna would arrive at PNG harbors “usually at night,” avoiding controls of PNG authorities at the docks. ANFACO talked of “illegal” unloading of canned tuna processed in the Philippines, but only given the identity of being produced by a Papuan company.

Under the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), canned tuna exports from Papua New Guinea destined for Europe have free trade advantages, whereas the Philippines is subject to 24 percent duty for the same product. Also PNG products has the advantage of “global sourcing”.

Currently there are two companies with processing plants for canned tuna in PNG, Frabelle PNG in Lae and RD Tuna Canners in Madang. The La Opinion A Coruna newspaper article failed to identify which of the two companies ANFACO believes is involved in the activity.

Although no proof has yet been revealed to these allegations, this could possibly have a negative impact on the import of PNG produced canned tuna into the European market. If the accusations are found to be correct, it will not only be the PNG authorities that are under investigation, but mainly the Philippine company that ANFACO claims to be acting illegally. contacted ANFACO; however, nobody was available today to provide any further details on these accusations.