GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/ 05 November)—Ecuador has overtaken the Philippines as the leading supplier of canned tuna in Germany.
Data from the European Commission published by a global tuna industry resource outfit (www.atuna.com) showed the Philippines shipped 15,074 metric tons (MT) of tuna to Germany last year, slightly lower than the 15,149 MT supplied by Ecuador.
Canned tuna imports account for almost all of Germany’s tuna imports, which in 2011 jumped to a three-year record high of 60,015 tons.
The Philippines used to hold 32% of Germany’s canned tuna imports.
Sought for comments, Mariano Fernandez, president of the city’s tuna canners’ association, said Monday the local tuna industry is facing problems on raw supply.
Also, it is not only in Germany but also in the United States that the export of Philippine canned tuna is declining, he said, reiterating the problem on raw tuna materials.
“The unloading now of tuna fish here is in small volumes, unlike in the past,” Fernandez told MindaNews, attributing the lack of raw tuna materials locally to global warning.
Fernandez said that local fishing companies are having a hard time catching tuna in the Philippine and nearby international fishing waters because of the warmer water temperature.
This is the opposite in Ecuador, where the water temperature is cooler, he added.
The report attributed the decline of the Philippine canned tuna share in the German market as likely caused by an unequal tariff treatment.
Ecuador enjoys a duty-free access on tuna products to the European Union, where Germany is a member, while the Philippines is slapped with a 24-percent tariff.
The South American country reportedly produces 500 MT tons of canned tuna daily and is one of the world’s largest producer, next to Thailand and Spain.
The Philippines used to enjoy an in-quota tariff treatment given by the European Union (EU) to “non-preferred” countries that also include Thailand and Indonesia.
It started in 2003 and ended in 2008 and was not renewed.
Under the scheme, the in-quota tariff slaps a 12% duty on canned tuna goods, compared to the usual 24%. The EU grants 12% tariff to a volume of only 25,000 metric tons a year, divided as follows: 9,000 MT to the Philippines, 13,000 MT to Thailand, 2,750 MT to Indonesia and the rest to other “non-preferred” countries.
Beyond the 25,000-MT annual quota, canned tuna goods from these countries are slapped with a 24% tax rate.
Canned tuna products from the Philippines are mostly produced in this city, where six of the country’s seven tuna canneries are based.
General Santos City is dubbed the “Tuna Capital of the Philippines.” (Bong S. Sarmiento/MindaNews)