China bans shrimp imports from Saudi Arabia


China temporarily banned imports of shrimp from Saudi Arabia as 40 shrimp exporters from Iran being granted market access.

China imported 23,048 tons of shrimp from Saudi Arabia in the first six months of this year, according to Chinese customs.

The temporary ban was announced by China’s General Administration of Customs and applies to Saudi Arabia’s National Aquaculture Group (NAQUA).

NAQUA – Saudi Arabia’s largest aquaculture company – was previously the only Saudi firm permitted to export to China.

The temporary ban is a blow to Saudi shrimp farmers.

Although its exports to China have tailed off since January, from 19,033 tons of shrimp to just 306 tons in June, the firm has pinned its future growth on the country; China’s preference for head-on, shell-on shrimp allows the firm to employ less labor for processing allowing it to remain competitive.

In the first six months of 2019, Saudi Arabia was China’s third-largest shrimp supplier, with imports from the country worth $145 million.

The temporary ban was announced less than two weeks after Chinese customs granted market access to 40 shrimp exporters from Iran.

Iran exports some 30,000 tons of shrimp annually with China as its largest market.

Among exporters granted permission to sell fisheries products to the country is shrimp processor Daryazad Seafood Products.

According to its website, the firm is headquartered in Bushehr province, a coastal region on the Persian Gulf, and produces raw processed and value-added shrimp products.

Chinese industry publication Foodspath said Chinese customs detected white spot syndrome virus (WSSV) in a shipment of shrimp.

Citing an industry source, it reported Chinese customs implemented the ban “to prevent the disease from entering China”.

Iranian veterinary authorities said China approved the exporters after they met Chinese laws, regulations and standards.

The updated Chinese list including the firms was published on Aug. 14.





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