Tag Archives: tuna

Tuna industry gets boost as EU parliament grants PH GSP+

GENERAL SANTOS CITY – The decision of the European parliament to grant the Philippines GSP+ status will help boost the country’s tuna industry, sources said.

“It will help the tuna industry,” said Richie Rivera, Executive Vice President of RD Group of Companies, holding company of RD Tuna.

Rivera however said the GSP+ status, which lifted tariffs on 6,200 Philippine export products to the European Union, only covered processed and canned tuna products caught by 100-percent Philippine-registered vessels.

“If foreign caught, the GSP+ won’t apply,” Rivera explained.

RD Tuna Ventures has shifted its fishing operations in Papua New Guinea where it also owns a tuna canning plant.

Rivera nevertheless said they are supporting the trade agreement.

Unloading tuna in General Santos City.PHOTO BY EDWIN ESPEJO
Unloading tuna in General Santos City.PHOTO BY EDWIN ESPEJO

Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) director Asis Perez on the other sees an increase in the volume of tuna exports to Europe following the decision of the European Parliament.

“We have not made any actual calculations as yet,” Asis however said.

According to Francisco Buencamino, executive director of the Tuna Canners Association of the Philippines, canned tuna exports to Europe in 2012 reached 3,202,659 cases or 42.5 percent of the country’s export volume of 7,538,093 cases.

The 2012 value of canned tuna exports to Europe reached US$123,295,407 or 44.8 percent of the total US$275,295,399 export receipts of the country.

Industry sources said the inclusion of the Philippines in the EU GSP+ will mean at least additional US$15 million or P660 million in revenues for Philippine tuna exporters.

Increased catch

Overall catch in General Santos for 2014 has already exceeded last year’s total landings.

With the December catch still to be added, the 180,035-metric ton fish landed at the General Santos City Fishing Port Complex this year has already exceeded the 2013 total catch of 167,578.75 metric tons.

Eighty percent of total fish landings in General Santos City are yellow-fin tuna and tuna-like species.

But more than 53 percent of tuna landings in the city are now imported frozen tuna.

Majority of the country’s tuna catch and landing go to the canneries.

Canned and processed Philippine tunas have become a traditional export product of the country with annual export revenues that has now topped the US$350 million mark.

General Santos City is the country’s acknowledged Tuna Capital with six of the country’s 7 tuna canning plant located in the city.

Tuna industry robust on PH inclusion in EU GSP+

A possible inclusion in the European Union generalized system of preferences plus (GSP+) will provide the Philippine tuna industry the much needed shot in the arm, according to the Department of Agriculture.

Inclusion in the list of GSP+ countries will mean lifting of the tariffs on hundreds of export products from the Philippines, including canned tuna.

“With GSP+, we hope to improve our share of EU’s fresh and processed tuna market as it will give our products a better fighting chance,” said Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala.

At present, tuna exports to the European market are subject to 20.5% duties while tuna exports from competitor countries such as African, Caribbean and Pacific countries have been enjoying a zero tariff.

Workers at a Philippine tuna canning plant.PIC BY EDWIN ESPEJO
Workers at a Philippine tuna canning plant.PIC BY EDWIN ESPEJO

According to Francisco Buencamino, executive director of the Tuna Canners Association of the Philippines, canned tuna exports to Europe in 2012 reached 3,202,659 cases or 42.5 percent of the country’s export volume of 7,538,093 cases.

The value of canned tuna exports to Europe reached US$123,295,407 or 44.8 percent of the total US$275,295,399 export receipts of the country.

“In terms of availment, there is no doubt that GSP+ will increase capacity utilization of canned tuna processing capacity, now estimated only to be about 55%-60% of daily capacity of +1,300 tons per day,” Buencamino said in the 15th National Tuna congress last year.

Industry sources said the inclusion of the Philippines in the EU GSP+ will mean at least additional US$15 million in export revenues or P660 million.

Department of Trade and Industry Undersecretary Adrian S. Cristobal Jr. recently reported that the European Union has posed no objection into the application of the Philippines to be included the list of beneficiary countries of the EU’s GSP+ system of tariff preferences.

The application is now reportedly headed to the European Parliament for deliberation.
The Philippines must however continue to observe and comply with 27 specified international conventions in the fields of core human and labour right, the environment and good governance.

It must also strictly follow ratified conventions by the world tuna governing body – the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission.

Among them is traceability and HACCP compliance.

Industry sources from the local tuna industry said the lifting of tariffs and duties on Philippine tuna export to EU could come as early as the second of next year.

“Definitely, this will be a big boon to the tuna industry which has seen the tapering down of growth in the last decade,” the source who requested that his name be withheld.

The source said the industry must face strong lobby from tuna-producing countries in Europe who are likely to resist the inclusion of the Philippines in the EU GSP+