SPAIN: In an attempt not to unbalance the interests of the tuna fleet and that of the tuna processing industry, Minister of Agriculture Luis Planas told Brussels that in the next three years (2019-2021) it is necessary maintain the autonomous quotas of tuna loins as they are, but, both sectors consider that he has not succeeded.
As reported by La Voz de Galicia, from the association Anfaco, they have insisted on the need for the quota to increase 10,000 tons per year, up to 35,000 claimed. The canning sector considers that this increase is peremptory and claims its right to be competitive and maintain its industrial activity in the national territory, generating added value, employment and strengthening its internationalization capacity. This, as a basic premise to have raw material essential to compete in a globalized market and in which the supply is a critical factor.
For its part, the fishing fleet clings to the rivalry between sectors to defend the suppression of tariff quotas for tuna, taking into account that significant investments have been made to guarantee their responsible environmental and socio-economic activity, and are forced to compete with the fleet from other countries that eventually end up supplying the Spanish canneries.
Anfaco emphasizes that the tariff quota is a non-discriminatory measure, in the sense that the raw material can come from any country as long as it complies with the EU regulations, and also "it is not a matter of obtaining any advantage, but of having the essential raw material to compete in the market."
Planas’ proposal to appeal to preferential agreements for industries to source tuna and tuna loins is not seen as a solution because the factories already obtain raw material under such agreements with third countries, but it is not enough to meet the needs of the industry.
In this sense, it is added that those countries with preferential agreements have, in turn, tuna industry and prioritize their offer to the EU market of their cans, product of higher added value, which ends up competing with the Galician preserved products on the shelves of the supermarket. Bearing in mind, in addition, that countries that have preferential agreements also accept this quota.
With the sole exception of Papua New Guinea, tariff benefits are conditioned on the origin of the raw material and, countries having a source of supply of limited origin product, prioritize the export of their canned tuna with a tariff benefit and take advantage of the consignments for tuna loins prepared from non-originating specimens.
Given the difficulties to reach preferential deals with certain countries, such as Peru and Colombia, the canning associations insist that preferential agreements are not a solution for supply. Regarding these two countries, the limited supply capacity of tuna loins stands out because both focus their strategies on the development of their canning industry, so they need that raw material for their own production.
The product from Mexico is not an option because of the problems it presents with the Dolphin Safe label. Already in other latitudes, the ACP countries (Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific), can not solve the problem of the Galician canning sector. These states, exposed from Anfaco, mainly export their tuna tins to the EU and, although they have non-originating quotas for tuna loins, their use is very low.
In this way, the associations insist on the need to increase the quantity by 10,000 tons urgently, considering that the lot of tuna loins without tariffs is the first one to be exhausted. According to sources of the canning industry, last year the quota was sold out three days after opening.