Date post :18/03/2020 - 8:54 AM

In 2019, a weak economy and declining consumer confidence have affected the Italian tuna market, the second-largest tuna market in Europe. According to Eurostat statistics, in the first 11 months of 2019, Italy's tuna imports reached 152 thousand tons, worth $ 885 million, down 5% in volume and 13% in value over the same period in 2018.
Despite being a country with a developed tuna processing industry, but Italy is still importing a lot of canned tuna. The proportion of canned tuna products in the first 11 months of 2019 accounted for nearly 74% of the country's total tuna import. However, compared to the same period in 2018, Italy's imports of processed and canned tuna are down 8%. Meanwhile, imports of fresh and frozen tuna increased by 7%.

Processed tuna code HS16 continues to be the favorite product in Italy during this period, especially canned tuna. In particular, yellowfin tuna products dominate the retail channels of Italy, especially canned tuna products.

Italy's Bolton Group owns the Rio Mare brand, which is the parent company of Conservas Garavillas in Spain (also known as Bolton Food España), which sells Isabel tuna products. In addition, Bolton also owns a 40% stake in Spanish canned tuna processing company, Calvo. Therefore, the group is processing its canned tuna products in Spain and moving to Italy, which explains why Spain is the largest supplier of tuna to Italy. Spanish processing companies such as France and Jealsa also play an important role in the Italian market.

But in general, Italy currently imports tuna mainly from non-EU sources. Ecuador, Ivory Coast, Solomon, Mauritius, Indonesia, Colombia, Philippines, Seychelles, Papua New Guinea, and Vietnam are the 10 largest non-bloc tuna suppliers to the Italian market, accounting for nearly 49% of the total import volume.

In particular, Ecuador is the largest tuna supply outside the EU, and is the largest source of canned tuna for the Italian market, accounting for 11% of total tuna imports of this country.

At the end of 2019, Ecuador received a yellow warning card from the EU for its shortcomings in illegal, undeclared, and unregulated operations. However, this EU decision has not had a clear impact on Ecuadorian tuna exports to EU countries, including Italy. With tariff advantages, Ecuadorian tuna products, especially canned tuna products, still have a good competitive advantage in the EU market.

Meanwhile, Vietnam is currently the 10th largest source for the Italian market, accounting for over 2% of total Italian tuna imports. Contrary to Ecuador, Vietnam's tuna products are currently subject to high taxes, moreover due to the influence of Vietnam's yellow tuna export card to EU countries, including Italy, not very favorable. Vietnam is exporting a lot of fresh and frozen tuna to the Italian market.

Currently, the outbreak of coronavirus is causing people in Italy to store a lot of canned tuna because these products can be stored for a long time. This trend will increase the demand for imported canned tuna in Italy. In addition, outbreaks of disease will limit the production activities of European countries, so the demand for importing fresh and frozen tuna is likely to decrease.


Source: Nguyen Ha -

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