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Last Updated:[03-11-2009 06:33:29 EDT] Zoom in Zoom out Back to Tradenews

EU Cuts Canadian Seafood Tariff – No Verdict on Seal Ban Yet

tradenews The European Union (EU) has indicated there would be some modification to the current tariff structure to ease the pressure off the already vexed Canadian seafood producers. The significant change to the tariff structure would be by providing access to 20,000 metric tonnes of Canadian shrimp to the European markets with no tariff applied under the Autonomous Tariff Rate Quota (ATRQ).

Currently, the same amount of Canadian shrimps invited a tariff of six percent since 2007. A Government of Newfoundland and Labrador’s communiqué said that this regulation would apply to products intended for further processing, and was expected to come into effect from January 1, 2010.

However, no verdict was available on the EU’s ban on trade in seal products from Canada which will come into force starting from August 2010. The EU banned the Canadian seal products after finding that these aquatic mammals were slaughtered in an inhumane manner.

The Canadian Trade Minister, Stockwell Day has recently declared that the ‘ban issue’ would be tabled at the WTO for consultations as a first step to the settlement of dispute. Notwithstanding the global protest against the merciless killing of seals, the minister has claimed the Canadian seal hunt was a legitimate economic pursuit, and the EU’s decision to ban the importation of seal products was based neither on science nor on facts.

But the tariff reduction on shrimp importation by the EU is largely welcome by the seafood industry as the rising Canadian dollar and the slowdown in global seafood markets have severely impacted the Canadian seafood business. Tom Hedderson, Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture said this move by the EU represented great progress on Canadian seafood tariffs and would assist its fishing industry at a time when markets were experiencing great challenges.

As part of the expected changes to the EU tariff structure, it is also anticipated that there will be no tariff on yellowtail flounder, with an ATRQ of 10,000 tonnes. Past EU tariffs on yellowtail flounder were as high as 15 per cent.

By Jose Roy

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