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Tuna industry to benefit from economic partnership

PHILIPPINES - Ratification by the Senate of the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (Jpepa) gained the support of local tuna industry leaders in General Santos City.

Marfenio Tan, president of the Socsksargen Federation of Fishing and Allied Industries, Inc., said the tuna industry as well as other maritime products will benefit from the bilateral trade agreement.

But Tan raised two major points that shall move the Senate to approve the trade deal signed by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and former Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi in Helsinki , Finland in September 2006.

"First, it [Jpepa] should lead to the lifting of the ban on smoked tuna products to Japan . Secondly, it should be ensured that the Philippines would not be a dumping ground of toxic wastes from Japan ," he said in a telephone interview.

"If the ban on smoked tuna products will not be lifted, the trade deal is no good," added Tan, whose federation counts as members seven organizations involved in the fisheries industry.

The ban on frozen filtered smoked tuna started when the Japan Kouseisho (Department of Health and Welfare) implemented restrictions on the importation, production and sale of frozen smoked tuna, hamachi (yellowtail) and tilapia in 1997 due to health reasons.

Source: Sun.Star