Ecuador becomes top tuna supplier to Germany

Ecuador has overtaken the Philippines as the leading supplier of canned tuna in Germany, official figures from the European Commission showed.

Data published by global tuna industry resource outfit 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 importation, which in 2011 jumped to a three-year record high of 60,015 tons.

The Philippines used to dominate Germany’s total canned tuna imports with a market share of 32 percent.

Sought for comment, Mariano Fernandez, president of the city’s tuna canners association, said on Monday that the local tuna industry is facing problems on raw supply.

He also said that it is not only in Germany but also in the United States that the export of Philippine canned tuna is declining, reiterating the problem on raw tuna materials.

"The unloading now of tuna fish here is in small volumes, unlike in the past," he told BusinessWorld, attributing the lack of raw tuna materials locally to global warning.

Mr. Fernandez said local fishing companies are having a hard time catching tuna in the Philippines 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 European Commission 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 (EU), of which Germany is a member.

On the other hand, canned tuna imports from the Philippines are slapped with a 24 percent tariff.    

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