U.S. Canned Tuna Orders Slow

The U.S. economic slowdown may be curbing demand for imported canned tuna, a development that may force Philippine tuna canners "to stop operations" if it persists, an industry leader told BusinessWorld.

Mariano M. Fernandez, president of the Tuna Canners Association of General Santos City, said canned tuna has been piling up in local warehouses due to a sudden lack of orders.

"The orders [from the United States] have stopped. There's no more orders from us for November. Our warehouse is getting full. We may be forced to stop operations if this trend continues," he said.

Fernandez, also the manager of the Ocean Canning Corp., said that local canneries are worried about laying off workers if U.S. orders do not resume.

Dubbed as the "Tuna Capital of the Philippines," General Santos City hosts six of the country's seven tuna canneries, which also export to Europe.

The United States represented about 24 percent of the country’s total canned tuna exports in the first half of 2008, according to the Department of Trade Industry-Central Mindanao.

Philippine canned tuna exports to the United States fell 20 percent in value to $27.9 million in the first half this year from $35 million during the same period last year. They dropped 33 percent in volume to 11.6 million kilograms from 17.3 million kilograms last year.


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