Europêche lodges anti-dumping complaint against Chinese tuna exports

Published on
September 30, 2020

European Union fishermen’s representative body Europêche has called on the European Commission to initiate an anti-dumping investigation into imports of tuna processed loins – mainly skipjack – originating in China, which it claims are causing “serious economic damage” to the European fishing industry.

Europêche said it has provided European authorities with information that shows the existence of unlawful aids and tax breaks allegedly granted by the Chinese government to Chinese exporters of tuna loins and canned tuna.

It is therefore urging the E.U. to eliminate any present and future tariff derogations granted to tuna loins, which mainly come from China, to mitigate further market and economic disruption.

“Given the strategic and highly competitive nature of the tuna market, we urge the European Commission to initiate an anti-dumping and anti-subsidy investigation with a view to impose as soon as possible countervailing measures against tuna exports to the E.U.,” Europêche President Javier Garat said. “It is not acceptable that countries which are linked to IUU fishing and serious labor abuses benefit from preferential market access; it should be rather the opposite. The E.U. should work towards achieving a true level playing field between E.U.-produced and third-country produced seafood. Autonomous tariff quotas for tuna loins at present are rewarding those who have turned a blind eye towards the sustainability of fish stocks and fair treatment of people.”

Europêche said it had been alerted by the increasing volumes of imported tuna loins flooding the E.U. market at low prices, and that these low prices had been made possible by subsidies from the Chinese government to their producers and also by E.U. import tariff derogations granted for 30,000 metric tons (MT) of tuna loins per year.

It also pointed to a recent study, “China’s distant-water fishing fleet: Scale, impact and governance,” which claims that the country had expanded its uncontrolled distant-water fishing fleet to the point that it is threatening food security and the economies of coastal communities around the globe. According to this research, this has been possible thanks to tax exemptions, fuel subsidies and ship construction subsidies, the amounts of which are hardly ever made public by the Chinese authorities.

Chinese seafood products therefore compete unfairly with seafood produced sustainably by the E.U. fishing fleet, but also with seafood suppliers from developing countries that export to the E.U. market under preferential market access conditions, Europêche argued.

Photo courtesy of Rafael SANTOS RODRIGUEZ/Shutterstock

Contributing Editor reporting from London, UK

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