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Ecuador Secures Zero Duty Into EU

Ecuadorian tuna exports to the European Union are to continue to enjoy zero percent duty tariff. EU’s new General Scheme of Preferences (GSP), which will see duty-free benefits for Ecuador’s tuna exports to Europe remain in play, will commence January 1, 2014.

The new EU GSP provides preferential access to the EU market to 176 developing countries, and Ecuador is one of just 17 of the nations that will be granted GSP+ status. The European Commission states GSP+ is “a special scheme with enhanced preferences for countries which ratify and implement international conventions relating to human and labor rights, environment and good governance.”

Ecuador is the world’s second largest exporting nation of tuna products after Thailand, and following Spain, exports the second highest amount of canned tuna to the EU. In 2012, Ecuador shipped more than 8 million cartons (48x185g) of canned tuna to the region, and over 34,000 tons of pre-cooked tuna loins, as the top supplier to the EU for this product.

The new EU GSP will take over from the EU’s previous scheme at the start of next year, where it has been confirmed that Ecuador’s tuna exports will continue to enjoy the same zero duty benefits they have in the past. This allows the country to compete strongly in the European tuna market.

While Thailand pips Ecuador to the post, taking the global top spot for exports of tuna products, it falls behind Spain, Ecuador and Mauritius for exports to the EU. Negotiations have taken place between Thailand and Europe to secure a 12 percent duty tariff, but currently Thai tuna carries a considerable 24 percent tax. 

The new EU GSP has three strands to its structure, including GSP General arrangement, for all beneficiary countries; GSP+; and Everything But Arms, a special arrangement for least developed countries giving them duty and quota free access for almost all their exports.