Image: ANFACO CECOPESCA / FIS
ANFACO-CECOPESCA will demand that tuna be excluded from the negotiation with Thailand for a free trade agreement
Tuesday, March 21, 2023, 07:40 (GMT + 9)
Before the official announcement of the European Commission on the relaunch of trade negotiations with Thailand, ANFACO-CECOPESCA expresses its deep concern about the start of negotiations between the EU and Thailand for the conclusion of a Free Trade Agreement, the relaunch of which was made official this week by the European Commission.
Image: Real Conservera / FIS
Thailand, with a production of more than 550,000 tons, according to the latest available data from the FAO, is the world's leading producer of canned tuna, having a good share of the EU market even without enjoying total preferential access.
A free trade agreement between the EU and Thailand that involves the opening of the community tuna market would have a lethal impact on the Spanish and community canning industry, which has invested and continues to invest in order to carry out its activity based on robust health, social and environmental. It would mean a break in the competitive balance that would jeopardize the 15,000 direct jobs in the canning industry in Spain alone.
The continuing nature of the current Thai government headed by the general who led the coup in 2014 raises serious doubts about the existence of a real democracy in Thailand, which supposedly will hold general elections in 2023, and about an effective implementation of the advances announced in the social, labor and environmental spheres. For example, in relation to the fundamental conventions of the ILO, Thailand has not ratified those related to freedom of association and the right to organize and one corresponding to safety and health at work.
Greenpeace protest against slave labor in tuna fishing in Thailand. Source: Greenpeace
For this reason, this news seems incomprehensible and surprising, to which ANFACO-CECOPESCA has already manifested its request for the total exclusion of tuna from the scope of this negotiation. In addition, the establishment of solid preferential rules of origin whose definition is wholly obtained fish, and only a bilateral accumulation for the set of fishery and aquaculture products that may be affected. Likewise, effective mechanisms must be considered to ensure in the long term that no tuna canned benefit from tariff preferences.
After the relaunch of the negotiations in this context, ANFACO-CECOPESCA will begin a round of contacts with the different Administrations, both Spanish and Community, in order to transfer the sectorial position on negotiations that must be developed taking into account the sensitivity of the Spanish industrial fabric. and community. Otherwise, it will mean the disappearance of a century-old industry in the country, committed to the social and economic development of the regions in which it is located.
In statements by Roberto Alonso, Secretary General: "This news is a cause for notable concern, in the face of a country, Thailand, with serious and repeated democratic deficiencies, conflicting ethical principles, and a lack of effective surveillance and control to ensure compliance with the basic community regulations on labor or environmental aspects, despite the sustainable approach that the Commission wishes to justify. It supposes a competitive loss due to the lack of level playing field. We hope, and thus we will actively sue all the agents involved, for the European Commission to reassess its decision and in any case impose the total exclusion of tuna, which under no circumstances can be subject to a tariff reduction, a position that we will defend with all means possible. our scope. We will have a firm position, since the opposite would imply the disappearance of our fish canning industry in Spain. We will not allow our history, jobs and industry leadership to be lost.”
Source: ANFACO CECOPESCA