Sri Lanka is bracing to re-enter the $ 15 billion Chinese seafood market following a resolution of issues connected to mandatory health certification.
The General Administration Customs of China (GACC) recently approved the amended health certificate, thereby enabling the import of fisheries and aquatic products from Sri Lanka from 1 July.
With the involvement of the Export Development Board (EDB) Department of Fisheries and the Sri Lanka Embassy in China, the certificate was upgraded to meet the quarantine requirements of the GACC – Import and Export Food Safety Bureau.
Seafood and aquaculture export products are required to obtain necessary clearance from the relevant authorities of the importing country.
“China is a lucrative market for seafood and aquaculture products such as frozen fish, crabs, prawns, lobsters and sea cucumbers. This arrangement will strengthen Sri Lanka’s seafood export market share in China,” EDB Chairman Suresh de Mel told the Daily FT.
He said the amended health certificate would facilitate existing Sri Lankan companies to continue exports and new exporters to enter the lucrative Chinese market.
China is a key player in global seafood trade and represents one of the largest producers, consumers, importers, and exporters of seafood in the world. China›s consumption has steadily grown and shifted toward an increasing quantity of high-value marine species.
“There is a significant increase in our seafood exports to China, particularly shellfish. With the Chinese consumption pattern, there is more demand for Sri Lankan crabs, shrimp and prawns and lobster than tuna and swordfish, which are generally exported in larger quantity to other markets. The key reason for this is their food culture and preference,” de Mel said.
Sri Lanka exported 1.3 million kilograms of seafood worth $ 1 billion to China last year and graduated from 14th rank in 2019 to 10th seafood export destination in 2020.
China’s seafood imports reached 4.3 million tons worth $ 15.44 billion in 2019 – a 30% increase over 2018 due to rising meat prices, strong domestic demand, and continued value-added processing for the export market.
China’s requirements for seafood imports are expected to rise to as high as 18 million tons by 2030. Rising affluence among urban consumers, increased consumption of seafood, and a shift towards more wild-caught and marine species are among factors that make China a high potential export market.