Recommendations, from a fisheries and aquaculture market perspective, on the ongoing negotiations for an EU-Thailand Free Trade Agreement
The Market Advisory Council (MAC) provided recommendations to the European Commission concerning the ongoing negotiations for an EU-Thailand Free Trade Agreement, which were relaunched last year.
In a yearly average between 2020 and 2022, the EU imported 39.644 tons of fishery and aquaculture products from Thailand for EUR 213 million, while exporting 18.153 tons valued at EUR 37 million. The main product imported into the EU from Thailand is prepared and preserved fish, of which canned and preserved tuna represents the majority of the volume.
According to MAC members, the European Commission should:
- Guarantee policy consistency on the fight against IUU fishing & against forced labour, including through the introduction of clear provisions on the three pillars of sustainability and international governance, explicit references to the relevant ILO’s conventions, and use of all tools available under EU law.
- Take into account ongoing legislative developments in Thailand and the potential rollback of standards concerning the fight against IUU fishing & against forced labour.
- Identify canned tuna and tuna loins products as “sensitive”, keeping in mind the competitiveness of the Thai industry, the differences in sustainability standards, and the potential negative economic and employment effects.
- Incorporate the EU’s preferential rules of origin, as derived from the Customs Code.
Pierre Commère, Chair of the Working Group 2 (EU Markets), highlighted: “Thailand is a highly competitive country in the fisheries and aquaculture sector. Therefore, the European Commission must account for potential impacts of a FTA on the competitive balance, the economy, and on employment. This is specially the case on the tuna sector for which a high degree of sensitivity has been identified in terms of defensive interest of the EU sector. Further, an ambitious FTA should incorporate clear provisions on the sustainable management of living marine resources and aquaculture products, on the fight against IUU fishing, and on decent labour”.
Full advice here.
Information note about the MAC:
As foreseen by Article 43 of the Common Fisheries Policy Regulation, the Market Advisory Council (MAC) provides advice to the European Commission and EU Member States on the market of fishery and aquaculture products. The MAC is composed of organisations representing the entire value chain (primary producers, processors, traders, suppliers, retailers, trade unions) and other interest groups (environmental and development NGOs). The MAC is co-funded by the EU.