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Exporting tuna is now cheaper

Export fee slashed to 0.2 percent
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Tuna is one of the natural resources that Filipinos have mastered in. From the fresh tuna exported to satiate the demand for sashimi in Japan, to the canned tuna that health buffs across North America and Europe, the Philippines is the leading exporter of tuna worldwide.

However, it also has a three percent export fee.

Heeding the requests to lower the fee, Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala has approved a proposal by a fishing federation in Mindanao to reduce the fee to shore shore up the ailing industry, which has been moving to other countries like Papua New Guinea and Indonesia.

The fee was reduced to merely 0.2 percent for all fish species caught in Philippine waters.

For his part, BFAR national director Asis G. Perez said the reduced fee is equivalent to P1,650 or 0.2 percent of fish raw material value computed from the previous year’s average wholesale price, whichever is higher, based on price surveys of the DA’s Bureau of Agricultural Statistics (BAS).

The previous 3 percent export fee was an additional burden and a disincentive for exporters, unduly increasing the prices of tuna products and thus making them less competitive in the world market, according to the SOCSKSARGEN Federation of Fishing and Allied Industries, Inc. (SFFAII).

The measure was counterproductive and inconsistent with the thrust of the government to promote exports, said Marfenio Y. Tan, outgoing SFFAII chairman.

Sixty percent of the country’s tuna catch is unloaded at General Santos City, thus making it the “tuna capital” of the Philippines.

The tuna industry is presently facing hard times as a result of a ban on fishing in the high seas imposed by the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission since January 1, 2010.

Last year, the country’s tuna production totaled 387,101 metric tons, which was 9 percent less than in 2008. Of the total, commercial fish catch accounted for 70 percent or 271,625 MT, 14 percent less than in 2008, the SFFAII said.

In 2010, the total value of commercial fish production was placed at P17 billion, of which P10.7 billion (or 63 percent) was contributed by the SOCSKSARGEN region.

Total tuna exports in 2010 was valued at US$ 359.4 million (roughly P15.45 billion at $1=P43).

Of the total volume, about 70 percent was in canned form (76,800MT), and the rest (33,688MT) was fresh, chilled, or frozen.


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