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Lusa - Business News - Cabo Verde: EU prepares favourable opinion on tinned fish exports




Praia,May.3,2021(Lusa)-The ambassador of the European Union (EU) in Cabo Verde told Lusa that a favourable decision on the request by the Cabo Verdean government for a temporary derogation from the rules of origin for up to three years is expected soon, allowing for the export of canned goods.

"I indicate that everything points to there being a favourable decision and that it may come very soon. What happens is that this is a very complex process because we are talking about derogations, which are exceptions to a rule that in itself already grants a privileged relationship and benefit to Cabo Verde," said Ambassador Sofia Moreira de Sousa in an interview with Lusa in Praia.

The lack of an EU decision on the Cape Verdean government's new request for a temporary derogation from the rules of origin, allowing canned food to be exported to Europe, threatens the survival of the archipelago's largest exporter, as denounced by trade unions in January.

With no guarantee of being able to export canned tuna, mackerel and 'melva' to Europe, as a new temporary derogation from the rules of origin has not yet been approved - under the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP), which provides tariff reductions on various products imported by European Union countries - Frescomar, the largest Cape Verdean exporter, led by a Spanish group, announced layoffs at the beginning of the year, affecting the factory located on São Vicente island, which by the end of 2020 employed around 1,700 workers.

At issue is the need for the EU, as has been the case almost annually since 2008, to authorise the request for a temporary derogation from the rules of preferential origin submitted by Cabo Verde, which in turn justifies it with the reduced national fishing fleet to operate outside its territorial waters in the fishing of tuna, mackerel and melva, for subsequent processing into canned goods.

"Given a situation that has been going on for a decade with Cape Verde, this issue had to be dealt with in a very comprehensive way, involving many services, legal services, the services that touch the whole part of competition, Public Health services," he said.

"So there are all sorts of teams that are involved in analysing this process, but I have the indication from Brussels that things are moving forward, are moving forward in the sense that there is a positive opinion. However, at this moment, I can only say that it is an indication, I cannot give guarantees because it is a procedure that is still underway," noted the ambassador.

The last temporary derogation agreement from the rules of origin approved by the EU, valid for one year, began on 1 January 2019 and authorised the export, as a product originating in Cape Verde, of up to 5,000 tonnes of canned white tuna, bigeye tuna, yellowfin tuna and skipjack tuna. The last derogation agreement for the export of canned mackerel and melva, of 3,375 tonnes, ended on 31 December 2020.

"Since 2008, the total annual quantities under the derogation granted to Cape Verde have contributed largely to the improvement of the situation in Cape Verde's fish processing sector. These quantities have also contributed to some extent to the revitalisation of Cape Verde's fleet of small fishing vessels, which is of vital importance for the country," the EU acknowledged in the latest derogation granted to the archipelago.

The ambassador to Cabo Verde explained that the delay in the current process - the last information provided by the government to the EU was last June - "is due to the complexity" of the issue, but also because it is expected if the derogation is granted, "to cover a longer period than what has been done so far," which has been for one or two years.

"Otherwise, we are always facing this situation, of always having to work on another derogation. This time there is an effort from all to try to find a solution that provides possibilities for a final solution, a definitive solution. In this case, it is thought that a derogation for a period of three years may be possible, and in which a package of measures is already determined", she explained.

According to Sofia Moreira de Sousa, "there is a great effort" between the parties in an attempt to reach a "good port".

"There is a political will, the will of the national authorities, so we are working towards that", she concluded.

PVJ/ADB // ADB.

Lusa


Agency : LUSA

Date : 2021-05-04 09:54:00







 

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