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13.7% tariffs for Alaskan pollock fillets from Russia to China to EU

Publish Date 2023-11-28
The EU officially confirms the imposition of tariffs on aquatic products originating from Russia that are processed in China!

The European Union officially confirmed on Monday that it will exclude Russian and Belarusian fishery products from the next version of its autonomous tariff quota (ATQ) scheme, including aquatic products originating from Russia that are processed in China, which will take effect in January.
The proposals were first tabled in September, with the current ATQ scheme set to expire on December 31. The council unanimously set quotas for certain seafood products in 2024, 2025 and 2026 on November 27.
The newly adopted regulations aim to ensure that the EU fish processing industry can continue to source raw materials for further processing from non-EU countries at reduced or duty-free rates.
The EU relies heavily on imports to supply certain fishery products, as EU fisheries and aquaculture production currently meets only 39% of its needs. When formulating the ATQ, its potential impact on EU suppliers was considered to ensure fair competition between imported seafood and EU products.
Spanish Fisheries Minister Luis Planas Puchades said: “With this regulation, we guarantee the competitiveness of the fish processing industry and provide European consumers with high-quality fish at reasonable prices. Processing of fishery products, taking into account the interests of the EU fisheries sector.” Agriculture, Fisheries and Food.
“We are doing this just three months after the Commission tabled its proposals, ensuring all stakeholders have legal certainty about the regime that will apply over the next three years.”
In recent decades, the EU has increasingly relied on imports to meet its demand for fishery products, either because these products are not produced in the EU or because they are not produced in sufficient quantities. To ensure that fish production in the EU is not affected and that there is an adequate supply of fish for its processing industry, the Council has been adopting ATQs.
Tariff quotas are only granted to those products imported into the EU for further processing.
The regulation covers a certain number of fishery products, for which tariffs will be suspended or reduced between 2024 and 2026. Tariffs and quantities vary for each product.
Aquatic products originating in Russia and Belarus are confirmed to be excluded
The EU proposes that, under the "end-use" system, aquatic products originating in Russia and Belarus can no longer enjoy zero tariffs on EU imports.
"In view of the deterioration of relations between the EU and Russia, and in order to ensure consistency with EU actions and principles in the field of external action, it is therefore inappropriate to allow imports from the Russian Federation to enjoy customs duties. - Free treatment for products falling within the scope of this regulation .”
Therefore, fishery products originating in Russia or Belarus are not subject to tariff quotas. While fish from Russia and Belarus can still be imported into the EU, under the proposal standard tariffs will now apply, such as 13.7% for Alaskan pollock fillets and 12% for head and gutted (H&G) pollock.
Likewise, Russian fish entering the EU via China will retain their Russian origin and will therefore no longer be able to be imported at preferential tariffs, but at standard tariffs. Of the many products for which ATQs are set, Alaska pollock is one of the most important.
The pollock quota is set at 340,000 tons. The proposals show a limit of 110,000 tonnes for H&G and 50,000 tonnes for fish fillets.
Russia accounted for 25% of the region’s cod imports in 2021, totaling around 200,000 tonnes, according to the latest annual finfish report from the Association of European Fish Processors and Traders (AIPCE-CEP). Germany is the main importer of Alaska pollock, followed by Poland, France and the Netherlands.
Russia’s cod imports amount to approximately 153,000 tonnes, accounting for 18% of EU cod imports. However, this number is actually much larger, considering that most Russian whitefish goes to China for processing before entering the EU. According to AIPCE, more than 95% of Alaska pollock imported from China originates from Russia.
"In view of the deterioration of relations between the EU and Russia, and in order to ensure consistency with the EU's position on external action, the Council has decided not to allow fishery products originating in Russia to enjoy duty-free or most-favored-nation status."
In addition, the Council also decided to exclude Belarusian fishery products from regulatory scope as relations between the EU and Belarus have deteriorated in recent years and due to Belarus's widespread support for Russia's war in Ukraine.
The regulation will enter into force on the 20th day after publication in the Official Journal of the European Union from January 1, 2024 to December 31, 2026.
Tariff quotas are managed by the European Commission and member states in accordance with the current tariff quota management system and operate on a first-come, first-served basis.

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