Spanish canners see PNG as threat

Business, Normal

The National, Tuesday 28th August 2012

SEVERAL representatives of the Spanish canning industry reaffirmed their concern over the increasing use of canned tuna native to Papua New Guinea, which they relate to the benefits granted by Brussels to their competitors.
“It was a really serious mistake to allow tuna having fewer requirements than those for a community canning producer to enter the European Union (EU) and we do not want to stop competition but we want to have the same rules as others,” the firm Jealsa Escurís’ chief executive, Jesus Manuel Alonso Escurís, said.
He said some entrepreneurs may consider it likely to manufacture in PNG “not because they want to do so but for survival reasons”.
The expansion of PNG tuna follows the agreement signed between the EU and PNG, which considers the release of tariffs on their exports to the EU market and of the rules of origin of the raw material, La Opinión reported.
Meanwhile, the opening of the eighth canning plant in PNG is expected with capital from Thai and Filipino entrepreneurs.
This factory is expected to exceed Galician and Spanish production of canned tuna in a few months.
“The volume is such that it can be a really serious problem.
“We cannot accept exceptional standards for that area because neither the investors nor the workers are from the same country,” the chief executive of one of the main canneries from Galicia added.
Meanwhile, the sources of the Galician multinational firm Calvo dismissed a possible installation in PNG.
“It has not been envisaged.
“Our strategy is directed on a different way – to Latin America – and what we hope is that the European authorities can see the serious risk of their decisions for the European industry,” a company spokesperson said.
What once was a “major concern, is now “a fact,” he stressed.
“Anticipating what was coming on our way, we bet on innovation and internationalisation in South or Central America and so we can now continue investing and creating jobs, because if we had continued operating only in Spain, it would have been the last straw,” the spokesperson added. – Fish Info & Services
The director general of Industrias Cerdeimar, Carlos Cerdeiras, stated the threat of PNG is “very, very worrying”.
“The canning industry is committed to manufacturing here provided we are allowed to do so and expect those from abroad should have the same requirements as we do as to fish legal status, wages, working and health conditions,” he said.
The National Association of Manufacturers of Canned Fish and Shellfish (Anfaco-Cecopesca) recalled that while the presence of European ships was limited in the area of PNG,” China develops an important seine tuna fleet, changing from five vessels to 30 in two years while the EU fleet has been limited to operating in the area since 2000 with only four ships”.
“If the true intention (of PNG) had been to ensure the supply of certified origin tuna from PNG, it could have favoured the access of the EU fleet to this area and not that of our competitors such as the Philippines, Thailand, Taiwan and China,” it was emphasised at Anfaco. – FIS