The threats from the United States, the negotiation process of the new North American trade agreement and the lost battle of the "dolphin-safe" have not stopped the exports of Mexican tuna to the other side of the northern border. The General Director of Grupo Marítimo Industrial (Grupomar), Antoni Guerra Autrey, said that the Mexican company has sent its products for almost 20 years to the US, and in the last four years has grown at a rate of 12 to 18 percent annual. Last year alone they sold over 20 million dollars of tuna products, one of the most popular fish in the diet of much of the world. The growth in sales is due to the high demand for products by retail food chains in the United States, which are aimed at ethnic groups, such as migrants.
That market represents a great opportunity to embrace a multicultural positioning that focuses on popular products, regardless of ethnicity or origin, and is on the rise in California, Texas, Chicago, and North and South Carolina. "This market is growing and we are launching new products, some already exist in Mexico, and we are trying our luck," argued the Grupomar executive, made up of a group of companies from the maritime and fishing sectors of the country.
Despite this, the commercial relationship is still limited because the large American chains do not acquire Mexican tuna because of the labeling rule that prevents mention of "dolphin-safe". This is because, after more than a decade of litigation before the World Trade Organization (WTO), in the past months the ruling was adopted and Mexico's argument that the rules of US labeling violated its rules was rejected.
"We lost the third final instance at a time when the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was being negotiated and there were also threats from the United States to leave the WTO on issues with China. I think we had a bad 'time in' for the final resolution."
The Mexican company will continue with its strategies to increase its presence on the other side of the border, and at the same time continue with its sales from Panama and to Canada. They will also seek to reach the Russian market, once the permits are delivered through the Federal Commission for the Protection against Sanitary Risks (Cofepris). Data from the Agri-Food and Fisheries Information Service (SIAP) show that tuna, shrimp, tilapia, lobster, mojarra, octopus, and sardines are the most important products of aquaculture and fishing activities, with a production of 2.1 million tons and a value of at least 29 billion 814 million pesos.