The European fishing sector calls on the European Commission to investigate dumping practices on Chinese exports of tuna loins

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Tuesday, 29 September 2020 10:51

SPAIN: The European fishing association Europêche

of which the Spanish Fisheries Confederation, Cepesca, is a member, today requested the European Commission (EC) to initiate an anti-dumping investigation on imports of processed tuna loins from China free of tariffs and which are part of the 30,000 tonne quota established by the EU for imports from third countries. In the case of Spain, which consumed 20,853 tons of these 30,000 tons in 2019, 71% came from China.

The information provided by Europêche to the European authorities and on the basis of which it requests the investigation, reveals the existence of illicit aid and tax exemptions allegedly granted by the Chinese Administration to the tuna export sector, both loins and conversations. Faced with such evidence, the European fishing sector urges the EU to eliminate any current and future tariff exemptions for tuna loins, which fundamentally come from China, and thus avoid further damage to the economy and the market.

In fact, and as an example, the importation of tuna loins has caused in some geographical areas of our country, such as Galicia, one of the main processors of canned tuna in the world, that cleaning jobs have been significantly reduced. Whole tuna and which represent 60% of the workforce employed by this sector, in addition to the impact on jobs in auxiliary sectors, such as unloading, transport or storage.

According to information from Europêche, subsidies for tuna exports are a commercial practice that not only violates the rules of the World Trade Organization (WTO), but also threatens the sustainable governance of the oceans. In the opinion of this organization, interventionism by governments undermines free competition and requires urgent action by the EU to reestablish a level playing field in tuna trade flows.

The European fisheries sector considers that any harmful subsidies or tax exemptions granted to Chinese exporters should receive the full attention of the EC. In fact, and according to the brief, in April 2016, the US already submitted a formal request to the WTO for China to clarify the fisheries subsidies and adjust them to the conditions established by the WTO. However, and according to Europêche, this process appears to be far from being completed since exports of tuna loins and their processed can enter the EU under unfair conditions, such as sales at a loss or subsidized.

In addition, and as part of the information provided to the EC, Europêche warns that China has expanded its fleet uncontrollably in distant waters to the point of threatening food security and the economies of coastal communities around the world. In this regard, and according to research by the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) 1, this expansion is possible thanks to tax exemptions and subsidies for fuel and shipbuilding that are usually not public. In this regard, Europêche argues that Chinese products compete not only with those sustainably supplied by the European fishing fleet, but also with those from developing countries that benefit from preferential market access.

According to the Secretary General of Cepesca and President of Europêche, Javier Garat, “given the strategic and highly competitive nature of the tuna market, we urge the European Commission to initiate an anti-dumping and anti-subsidy investigation, with a view to establishing measures as soon as possible compensation against tuna exports to the EU. It is not acceptable - Garat says - that countries linked to IUU fishing and serious labor abuses benefit from preferential access to the market, since it should be just the opposite. The EU - Garat concludes - must work to achieve a true level playing field for seafood produced in the EU and those produced in third countries and in this sense, duty-free quotas are currently rewarding those who make the a blind eye to the sustainability of fish stocks and the unfair treatment of people ”.


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