Export of frozen seafood products from six India marine companies has been suspended by China after new coronavirus nucleic acid were detected on the packaging materials of their shipments.
China has also rejected the consignments from these firms.
The General Administration of Customs of China has suspended accepting of aquatic products of these six firms for a period of one week after traces of the virus were found on the outer packages of the seafood products of their consignments.
But there has been no confirmation report or proof or evidence given to conclude the presence of nucleic acid on the seafood consignments, exporter industry sources told BusinessLine.
Last year, the Marine Products Exports Development Authority (MPEDA) had questioned the Chinese notification asking them on the parameters, testing methods and procedures that had led them to detect the presence of the nucleic acid.
The Chinese authorities had issued a notification in September 2020 after detecting the presence of nucleic acid on the seafood packaging materials. Then, Indian exporters were told that such consignments will be suspended for one week in the event of the first detection. In case, a company was found at fault again, they the suspension would be for one month.
MPEDA to sort out issue
MPEDA has taken up the issue with the Chinese authorities by convening a meeting sometime next week to tide over the crisis, sources said.
Meanwhile, the seafood exporters are keeping their fingers crossed over the developments at a time when the marine product shipments to China have witnessed a phenomenal growth since March. China is the second largest market after the US, fetching earnings to the tune of ₹7,000 crore in the last fiscal.
Shaji Baby John, Chairman, Kings Group of Companies, a leading seafood exporter, said that China has largely controlled the spread of the coronavirus. However, there are instances of virus spreading in South China, forcing the authorities to step up the vigil. This has prompted the Customs authorities to strengthen the monitoring of all imported cargo.
Of late, Indian seafood consignments are getting increased acceptance in the Chinese markets because of the huge shortage of raw materials. But the testing has resulted in the slowing of the market, thereby payments are getting delayed from the consignees. Indian seafood exporters are fetching good orders, as it is the peak season for exports to China because of the Vannamei shrimp harvest in India, Shaji added.