EU shrimp market opens for Ecuador following end of tariffs
Shrimp producers from Eucador are out in force at the 2017 Seafood Expo Global, promoting products that have been made more commercially attractive through a trade agreement between Ecuador and the European Union that eliminated tariffs for all seafood products starting at the beginning of 2017.
Ecuador was the first South American country to commercialize shrimp; however, shrimp from Ecuador entering the E.U. previously faced a tariff of from 3.4 percent. With that tariff gone, the country’s shrimp producers are now keen to further develop their position as the world’s largest exporter of this seafood.
“The new trade agreement has made a big difference to our shrimp producers, with European exports up by 10 percent already this year,” Valeria Escudero, Commercial Consul at the Embassy of Ecuador in Paris, said. “This success builds on a year-on-year increase in exports to Europe in 2016 of 19 percent, and a global increase of 8.42 percent to reach 370,779 metric tons (MT) with a value of USD 2.58 billion [EUR 2.36 billion].”
The main markets for shrimp from Ecuador are Asia, the United States, Latin America and the E.U. Ecuador’s favorable climate enables producers to achieve 3.5 harvests per year, whilst its attention to product quality, sustainability and traceability, makes the country a top choice with global buyers, Escudero said. Many of its shrimp products are certified organic by Naturland and farmed to Aquaculture Stewardship Council and Global G.A.P. standards.
“The sector ensures that it puts the environment first, and has worked with the Ecuadorian Ministry of Environment to reforest 2,200 hectares of mangroves,” Escudero said. “[In addition,] the sector is a very important source of employment, particularly in fragile rural areas, and we generate direct and indirect employment for more than 180,000 families, and particularly benefit women.”
Escudero said Ecuador plans to launch a promotional campaign in Europe this year, starting in France in May. She called France “one of the most important E.U. export destinations” for Ecuadorian shrimp, and said the campaign there would focus on branding Ecuadorian shrimp as a high-quality, tasty product with a “feel good” factor.
“Commercial customers are well aware of us, and 40 percent of the shrimp in French retailers comes from Ecuador. However, to help us boost exports, we need to start raising awareness amongst consumers. We will work with chefs to develop new recipes, organise tasting sessions, and endorse shrimp heavily in the mainstream press,” she said.