Fisheries exports from Mercosur member countries which now face tariffs ranging from 8% to 15% in the European Union will see them gradually disappear during a seven-year period, according to the terms of the wide-ranging strategic trade and cooperation agreement signed this week between the two blocks.
According to Buenos Aires sources, Argentina which in recent years has been the main supplier of different sea food produce to the EU, the accord gives an immediate boost to sales of hake, squid and scallops.
Obviously it must be pointed out that for the trade agreement to become effective it must first be approved by the legislative branches of the four Mercosur full members and the EU 27 parliaments, which is expected to take some time, anywhere from two to three years, plus the fact that some EU member countries will take some time convincing or can be expected to demand some form of compensation from Brussels.
Likewise some countries such as France has publicly mentioned that Brazil must comply with an end to deforestation in the Amazon, plus join the Paris Climate accord, which Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro has been saying in Brazil it is Marxist fake news and even went as far as telling Councilor Angela Merkel that Brazil can teach Germany a few things when it comes to deforestation.
But leaving aside the different steps involved in the process, according to a concise release published by the Argentine ministry of foreign affairs, in effect once the accord becomes effective, squid, hubbsi hake frozen and in fillets plus scallops, as long as they comply with the sanitary protocol will have direct access to the EU free of tariffs and quotas.
Likewise shrimp and canned sea food, will benefit from a gradual four year tariff reduction to zero.
We have managed that the main items from the fisheries industry which originally were excluded from the negotiation have been accepted with a very favorable tariff reduction scheme, reads the official report.
This truly benefits Argentina's export potential of different sectors which faced heavy tariffs such as fisheries, 8% to 15%. We have opened a market of some 750 million consumers.
According to official data Argentina's fisheries exports to the EU last year amounted to some US$ 670 million, out of a total of US$ 682 million. The sum represents 40% of Argentina's total fisheries exports and works out as follows,. Spain, US$ 483 million; Italy, US$ 181 million; Russia, US$ 58.9 million; France, US$ 50 million and Poland some US$ 16 million, among others.
On the other hand, capital and equipment imports for the fisheries industry from the EU, will be facilitated with a quick scaled reduction of the 18% tariff imposed by Argentina.