Malaysia plans to be more actively involved in the tuna business Thai canners looking to growth in added value Clive Beddall, Bangkok Thailand's tuna canners are predicting more growth in the added value sector of the UK market. Packers exhibiting at Thaifex 2002, the country's international food show in Bangkok, said they were facing increased pressure from British distributors and own label customers to "come up with something new". Thisana Tongjuta, of one of the bigger groups, Thai Union, told The Grocer: "Despite the massive growth in added value tuna products, we believe there is scope for additional sales in the market, and our research and development team is working to develop new formulae." However, it was clear from talking with Tongjuta and other executives that the ongoing discussions between the Thai government and the EU to obtain a duty reduction on tuna remain top of the agenda. Although some observers say that Thailand, unlike the Philippines, should be able to manage the 24% duty surcharge, industry figures remain hopeful that Brussels will ultimately cut the rate. Meanwhile, tuna executives who were not exhibiting in the Thai capital were last week to be found at Tuna 2002, the seventh world tuna trade conference taking place in Kuala Lumpur. And early sessions at the event suggested that Malaysia plans to be more actively involved in the tuna business. Its government has devised new strategies for the industry including initiating collaboration with a Taiwanese company and possibly redeveloping Penang Port. Malaysia hopes to land 75,000 tonnes of tuna in 2010 compared with a volume of 11,000 tonnes currently. {{CANNED GOODS }}