Philexport urges competition ‘safety nets’ for small fishers

Posted on February 17, 2014

WHILE the fisheries sector is generally seen as competitive given the proposed free trade agreement (FTA) with the European Union (EU), exporters said the government should still provide small fishermen with “safety nets” from stiffer competition.

“Not everybody will win,” the Philippine Confederation of Exporters, Inc. (Philexport) said in a statement.

Philexport said the FTA may help increase the variety of fish products exported to the EU and the destinations of these exports, thereby benefiting fish processors and exporters and boosting the Philippine economy.

But, “safety nets”, the group noted, “will have to be provided for Filipino small-scale fishermen and small-scale fish processors and marketing agents who will face greater competition from imported fish.”

“[D]omestic fish stocks and marine resources will have to be managed better to avoid the risk of overexploitation,” Philexport added.

The Philippines and the EU are currently at the scoping stage, determining which sectors will be part of a trade deal.

Fisheries products are considered an important and growing part of Philippine exports to the region. Fisheries shipments to the EU rose to 27.7% from 2009 to 2010, compared with 8.8% growth from 2001 to 2002, according to the statement. -- Daryll Edisonn D. Saclag