Morocco is taking over the Venezuelan position as a supplier of sardines to Brazil. The Arab country exported 8,500 tons to the Brazilian market in the months of January and February, well above the 138 tons in the same period last year.
Venezuela, which was the main Brazilian sardine supplier last year, prohibited exports of the product six months ago.
"Morocco tends to benefit as, behind Venezuela, it is the country that most exports sardines to Brazil," stated Luiz Eduardo Carvalho Bonilha, general coordinator of Industrial Fishery of the Special Secretariat of Aquiculture and Fishery (Seap), a federal government organization.
Venezuela, according to Bonilha, is turning its fishery to the foreign market, as the country has reduced sardine fishing to protect its shoals.
Venezuela supplied 31,800 tons of sardine to Brazil in 2005, according to figures supplied by the Foreign Trade Secretariat (Secex). The figures include frozen and pickled sardines. The volume supplied by the South American country represented 94.6% of the total imported by Brazil in the period.
According to Bonilha, the full volume may be supplied by Morocco and also by the United States and Russia. "But Morocco is the country, outside South America, that stands out most in our exports," he said.
Around one month ago sardine import tariffs were reduced to zero. Before that, the tariff for import of the product from countries like Morocco was 2%, but the government decided to bring benefits to other nations that export the product, giving them the same advantages as Venezuela, as a South American country, had.
To supply the domestic demand in Brazil, the tariff will remain zeroed not only during the period in which sardine fishing is prohibited in the country, due to reproduction and growth of the fish, but throughout the year.
Morocco is the largest world exporter of sardines. Up to last year, however, sales of the Moroccan product to Brazil were not so expressive. The Arab nation shipped 962 tons to the country, which represented 2.8% of the total exported. Even so, Morocco was the second largest Brazilian foreign supplier in the sector. Exports generated revenues of US$ 572,000 to the Moroccans.
This year, just in the first two months, Moroccan sardine sales to Brazil reached US$ 4.7 million. The country has become the largest supplier of the product to Brazil.
The domestic market imported a total of US$ 5.6 million in sardines, canned and frozen, between January and February. In terms of volume, Morocco answered to 83.3% of Brazilian imports, which totaled 10,200 tons.
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