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Zero Duty For Ecuador Into EU Not A Done Deal Ecuador, November 7, 13

Despite earlier news that a deal between Ecuador and the European Union (EU) on the zero percent duty on tuna had already been reached, the latest information from Brussels is that matters are not as firm as several Ecuadorian sources had assured last week. The desired year extension of the GSP Plus, which allows the duty free entry of tuna products into the EU, has not been fully granted to Ecuador yet.

Yesterday, a deal came closer after the Foreign Trade Committee of the EU Parliament decided to reject the proposal by France, Cyprus and Portugal, which sought to analyze the GSP Plus renewal country by country for ten nations, including Ecuador. This means that the application of these ten nations will most likely be treated as one group.
The proposal to evaluate the GSP Plus country by country, originated in the intention of several EU member states to avoid extending these preferences to Pakistan, which has been questioned for its shortcomings in human rights issues and best practices.
This request was rejected Tuesday and that is to the benefit of Ecuador because, if the countries would have been evaluated individually in the European Parliament, this procedure could have taken until April or May of 2014, while Ecuador needs a final decision before December 31st 2013.
This was announced by the president of the Federation of Exporters of Ecuador (Fedexpor), Felipe Rivadeneira, who traveled to Brussels along with other representatives of the private sector for meetings with MEPs.
Although the Foreign Trade Committee of the European Parliament has voted favorably for Ecuador, the issue must still be passed by the full European Parliament, which will convene on the matter only in December. The possibility still exists that the Parliament could ignore the decision by the Foreign Trade Committee and the motion can be re-proposed to deal with the extension of preferences per each country individually.
If this motion definitely fails, the GSP Plus preferences will automatically be renewed from January 1, 2014 , for these 10 nations, including Ecuador, for another year till December 31st 2014.
“The importance lies in signing the trade agreement with the EU as soon as possible, to secure the privileged access of our products into the European Union,” said Felipe Rivadeneira the president of the Federation of Exporters of Ecuador (Fedexpor). Rivadeneira met in Brussels with representatives of the private sector and conducted meetings with MEPs.
In the current situation, European importers have no assurances that canned tuna and pre-cooked loins being shipped from Ecuador from end November to the EU, will pass customs as of January 1st 2014 at zero duty. This will likely result in a slow down in shipments from Ecuador during the first 2 weeks of December, pending the decision by the European Parliament.