Thai/Philippines duty reduction unlikely Discussions between the EU and representatives from the Philippines and Thailand governments to obtain a duty reduction on tuna have stalled. It was hoped that the EU would agree to reduce the contract duty from 24% to 5% although observers felt this was never achievable, but some easing was expected. Heavy investments in preferential areas, such as Africa and the Indian Ocean, have been beneficial to those regions through local re-investment and a reduction in poverty. It was hard to see how the EU would be prepared to jeopardise the progress made by easing duties elsewhere. Thailand in particular seems able to manage the 24% duty surcharge as it remains a major supplier of tuna product to the UK. It could hardly be classified as a country in need of economic support. On the other hand, there could be an argument for the Philippines, where help is needed to combat drugs and a high unemployment rate. The Philippines will now apply to the World Trade Organisation to act on their behalf to seek lower tariffs. With 60% of its production going to the US market they will argue the case for a zero duty rating as a contribution to the joint US/Philippine anti terrorism campaign. Most of the tuna production takes place in the Mindanao region, south of the country. {{CANNED GOODS }}