Tuesday, 30 June 2015 Brussels Belgium
PNOY statement on lifting of warning to PH on IUUF
Friday, 24 April 2015 09:39    Bookmark and Share PDF Print E-mail



President Aquino welcomes the European Union’s lifting of yellow-card warning to the Philippines on illegal fishing
April 23, 2015

President Benigno S. Aquino III has welcomed the European Union’s (EU) decision to revoke its yellow-card warning issued to the Philippines regarding measures to fight illegal fishing.

The warning was issued in June last year after the EU deemed that the Philippines had previously not done enough to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.

The President said that “had the situation worsened, this would have alienated one of the biggest importers of fish for the Philippines, which would have been a blow against our fishing industry and Filipino fishermen”.

“This is why I tasked concerned agencies to work tirelessly to comply with the EU’s requirements. During my trip to Europe, I likewise discussed the issue with prominent EU officials to ensure that we are on the right track. I am pleased to report that, as of today, the EU has lifted its yellow-card warning against the Philippines,” President Aquino said in a statement issued on Thursday.

“Rest assured: We will continue to implement reforms to avoid a similar situation in the future, and strengthen our fishing industry even further. We are determined to do so, knowing just how many of our countrymen depend on this for their livelihood,” the President further said.

In a press statement, the Delegation of the European Union to the Philippines said the EU “acknowledges the Philippines’ efforts to partner up with us in fighting illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.”

“Since an official dialogue started, the Philippines embarked on a series of reforms to upgrade its fisheries governance and successfully aligned it to international law. Achievements made by the Philippines include the adoption of a new Fisheries Code with a deterrent scheme of sanctions, the improvement of the traceability and catch certification schemes, reinforced cooperation with Papua New Guinea for inspection and control and coverage of the activities of the long distant fleet operating beyond Philippines waters,” it said

European Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Karmenu Vella noted that “the Philippines has taken responsible action, amended its legal systems and switched to a proactive approach against illegal fishing”.
EU ambassador to the Philippines Guy Ledoux meanwhile said, “This recognition means that the ‘identification’ procedure that had started with a yellow card in June 2014 is stopped, the yellow card revoked – thanks to the good work done by the Philippines government and Congress.”

The country’s fishery exports to the EU amounted to EUR170 million in 2013, out of a total of EUR5.1 billion.

The European Union issues a green card to PH on illegal fishing
Wednesday, 22 April 2015 07:56    Bookmark and Share PDF Print E-mail
European Commission - Press release

EU acts on illegal fishing: Yellow card issued to Thailand while South Korea & Philippines are cleared

Brussels, 21 April 2015

The European Commission has today put Thailand on formal notice for not taking sufficient measures in the international fight against illegal fishing (IUU).

As a result of a thorough analysis and a series of discussions with Thai authorities since 2011, the Commission has denounced the country's shortcomings in its fisheries monitoring, control and sanctioning systems and concludes that Thailand is not doing enough.

European Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Karmenu Vella, stated: "Our EU rigorous policy on a harmful practice such as illegal fishing, together with our genuine capacity to act, is paying off. I urge Thailand to join the European Union in the fight for sustainable fisheries Failure to take strong action against illegal fishing will carry consequences."

Today's Decision starts a formal procedure of dialogue with the Thai authorities to make them take the necessary corrective measures. They will be given six months to implement a corrective tailor-made action plan.

Should the situation not improve, the EU could resort to banning fisheries imports from Thailand. Such measure was taken in the past with Belize, Guinea, Cambodia and Sri Lanka. Imports from Belize were banned last year but due to the reforming efforts of the authorities they are now allowed.

On a more positive note, the European Commission acknowledges today that two fishing nations, Korea and the Philippines, have carried out appropriate reforms of their legal systems and are now equipped to tackle illegal fishing. It therefore stops the "identification" procedure that had started with a yellow card to Korea in November 2013 and the Philippines in June 2014.

Commissioner Vella noted that; "By using our market weight the EU is getting important players on board. Both Korea and the Philippines have taken responsible action, amended their legal systems and switched to a proactive approach against illegal fishing".

Since they were issued with warnings, both Korea and the Philippines embarked on a series of reforms to upgrade their fisheries governance. Their legal systems are now aligned to international law.

As a result of the action taken by Korea and the Philippines, the Commission has stopped formal discussions with the countries' authorities and looks forward to Korea and the Philippines becoming valuable allies on sustainable management within global and regional organisations.



Between 11 and 26 million tonnes of fish, i.e. at least 15% of world catches, are caught illegally every year. This is worth between 8 and 19 billion euros. As the world's biggest fish importer, the EU does not wish to be complicit and accept such products into its market. The so-called 'IUU Regulation', which entered into force in 2010, allows access onto the EU market only to fisheries products that have been certified as legal by the flag State concerned. When flag States are unable to certify their products, the Commission starts a process of cooperation and assistance with them to help improve their legal frameworks. The milestones of this process are the warnings (yellow cards), the green cards if issues are solved and the red cards if they aren't - the latter leading to a trade ban.

Like Korea and the Philippines, in October 2014 also Fiji, Panama, Togo and Vanuatu got a green card, as they had solved the issues identified by the Commission. Formal dialogue is still ongoing with Ghana and Curaçao, which received formal warnings in November 2013; Papua New Guinea, warned in June 2014; and Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, warned in December 2014. Most of these countries are now cooperating constructively with the Commission, making significant progress in their fisheries management systems in order to curb illegal fishing.

By contrast, fisheries products caught by vessels from Sri Lanka, Guinea and Cambodia are banned from being imported into the EU. Belize was withdrawn from the black list in December 2014, after it adopted lasting measures to address the shortcomings of its fisheries systems.

The fight against illegal fishing is part of the EU's forceful drive to ensure sustainable ocean governance and to project globally the principle of sustainability, enshrined in the Common Fisheries Policy.




PH Exports benefit from duty-free access to EU beginning Dec 25
Monday, 05 January 2015 09:57    Bookmark and Share PDF Print E-mail


Beginning December 25th, Philippine exports can enjoy duty-free access into the European Union market through the Union's "tariff preferences under the special incentive arrangements for sustainable development and good governance", more popularly known as the Generalized System of Preferences Plus (or GSP+).

GSP+ privileges extend duty-free access to Philippine exports in 66 per cent of all product tariff lines, including fisheries products and garments.

The grant of GSP+ privileges is expected to generate 200,000 new jobs in the rural areas of the Philippines in the early years of implementation.

The Philippines applied for GSP+ privileges on 28 February 2014, after the European Commission determined that the Philippines was eligible to apply based on the following criteria: vulnerability of the country's economy resulting from a lack of diversification in its exports, and its ratification of 27 core international human rights conventions.

The European Union completed its assessment and approval procedures for the Philippine application on December 18th, and the Union's decision to grant GSP+ privileges was published in the Official Journal of the European Union on December 24th.

Collectively, the 28 Member States of the European Union rank as the Philippines' fourth largest trading partner, with bilateral trade amounting to USD 12.8 billion in 2013.  The EU is also the Philippines' fourth largest export market, accounting for 11.56 per cent of total Philippine exports. END

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Philippine Embassy in Brussels


297 Avenue Moliere, 1050 Brussels

E-mail: consular.brusselspe@gmail.com

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Zafrullah G. Masahud

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Avenue Louise 207, Bte 5B, 1050
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For more information on the Philippine agricultural sector, please visit the following website: www.da.gov.ph






Republic Act No. 10590 An Act Amending Republic Act No. 9189, entitled "An Act Providing for a System of Overseas Absentee Voting by Qualified Citizens of the Philippines Abroad, Appropriating Funds Therefor and for other Purposes" (Click here)






For more details, please visit the Embassy's Consular Section, or contact us through telephone numbers 02.340.3377 to 78 or email us at voting.brusselspe@gmail.com


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