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PNG could lose trade deal if Thailand benefits
4:26 pm GMT+12, 26/01/2011, Papua New Guinea
The European Parliament has asked the European Commission (EC) to suspend the exceptions to the rules of origin given to Papua New Guinea (PNG) if the deal this year proves to have “a disruptive impact” on European industry.

European Ministers expressed their concern that the exceptions to the rules of origin for PNG and now also Fiji will become a platform for processing and export, benefiting China, Philippines, Thailand, USA and Australia.

Besides the fishery products from PNG, also those from Fiji will be able to enter the EU market more easily, after the European Parliament (EP) approved a trade agreement between the European Union (EU) and the two Pacific countries.

The economic partnership agreement provides for the elimination of tariffs and more flexible rules of origin for various food products, such as canned and frozen tuna.

That is, the fishery resources of PNG and Fiji will have to meet less stringent conditions for exporting to the EU.

Also, Parliament passed a nonbinding resolution that refers to the consequences of the pact with PNG and Fiji to the European industries that process fishery products, such as tuna.

The agreement has been in valid since 2007, but will have to be ratified and reviewed by Parliament in 2011.

In this regard, the National Association for Producers of Canned Fish and Shellfish (Anfaco) reiterated that this agreement is a “serious threat” to the interests of Spanish seafood industry.

According to the secretary general of Anfaco, Juan Manuel Vieites, “we hope that the agreement is not renewed because the socio-economic impact study, prepared by the EU itself, as well as one which we will take to Brussels and the EP, make it clear that the threat is real.”

“During the last three years in which the agreement has been in effect, these countries have seen an increase in exports to the EU by 3 percent, and major tuna groups in the world are building several macro plants in PNG in order to produce 700,000 tons of canned tuna, twice that of the Spanish production” he told the newspaper Faro de Vigo.

SOURCE: EU UPDATE/PACNEWS

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