TIRANA, February 13
The fast growing fish processing industry in Albania is hampered by the duty-free limit for exports. Over 4,000 people risk losing their jobs, while entrepreneurs are taking into consideration the idea of moving their companies in other countries of the region. The problem with duty-free export limits is related to the fact that fish processing plants don’t work at their full capacity. Therefore, they cannot expand their activities. Monitor magazine quoted as saying the administrator of a fish processing plant, Martk Babani, who said that he has 400 people working in his activity. Moreover, he planned to open another plant, but currently, he is facing problems with his fish processing factory.
Almost all the entrepreneurs that have invested in this sector are facing the same situation. The European Union (EU) duty-free export limit is 1,600 tons per year, a quota that is filled due to the increased number of subjects operating in this sector. In 2016 it was filled in August and producers exported ready-made products for the other part of the year.
However, a news law is expected to be enforced by the EU and according to its new quota will be set for every product. If a new agreement is not reached with the EU, entrepreneurs see only two choices, shutting down or moving to another country.
According to Babani, the lack of intervention by the Albanian state institutions is causing this situation.
“Our industry has raised the voice and we asked for meetings with the ministries of agriculture and economy, but so far we have received no answer,” Babani said.
Currently, the fish processing industry is the only one that exports agro-food products almost in the entire EU market. They are among the most prefer products by European consumers even though their price is 30 percent higher than anchovies from Morocco and Tunisia.
European countries are the only market for Albanian companies, and even though producers say that they are selling even in Greece and Turkey, the demand is higher in the EU especially in Italy and Spain.
Over 4,000 people are working for 12 companies operating in the fish processing industry.
News Source: Monitor