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China bans seafood exports from India on quality grounds

May 9, 2012

China has decided to ban seafood imports from India due to the Indian seafood industry’s failure to clear the China’s General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) certification norms for export of aquatic products. The twenty- seven countries that did meet the approval of the AQSIQ list unfortunately did not include India.
The export sectors of Gujarat and Kolkata stand to suffer the most, accounting for a majority of the seafood trade with China. In 2010- 2011, seafood export to China hauled in approximately 15 percent of the country’s total export income. Like chicken wings, which are mostly only consumed in China, the Middle Kingdom also imports small fish and fish parts, which are not highly consumed in other markets for a cheaper price.
The question, then, is this: Is this move being implemented on a mere whim or is there any basis for concern?
The news has left several incensed. Rajarshi Banerjee, director of Razban Seafood, told the Economic Times “It is a matter of concern and we will shortly take it up with the ministry. We have been barred to export to China on quality grounds.”
The move will severely affect the Indian fishing and seafood industries, especially in West India. Seafood exporters from eastern India will not take much hit as they do not cultivate the kind of fish that are imported to China,” said TR Patnaik, vice president of Seafood Exporters Association of India. While prices might rise slightly in China on the short supply of fish from India, it is unlikely to dent the market severely. Most likely, India will now wake up to the AQSIQ, demand to be a part of it in order to resume exports. The ban though will take a few months to retribute as seafood exports generally take two to three weeks to get to China.

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