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Pakistan's Seafood Allowed to Enter EU After Ban Lifted

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EU - The European Union has cleared Pakistan's first seafood export consignment, allowing the country's formal fish and shrimp trade into its 27-nation market after a ban of over six years.

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Fisheries sources said that the EU lifted its six-year restriction from Pakistan's seafood trade allowing two fisheries companies to export shrimp and fish products to its 27-nation bloc from 12 March 2013.

"The EU cleared whole cleaned cuttlefish consignment which Akhlaq Enterprises (Pvt) Ltd had shipped after the ban was formally lifted in February 2013," they added.

CEO Akhlaq Enterprises Akhlaq Hussain Abedi confirmed to Business Recorder that the EU cleared the first 11,000 kilograms of whole cleaned cuttlefish consignment. He further said that three more consignments of value-added seafood products would reach the European markets shortly.

According to sources, Akhlaq Enterprises and M/s A.G. Fisheries (Pvt) Ltd were the only companies approved by the EU to export seafood products to its markets. It may be mentioned here that the EU suspended Pakistan's fisheries imports into its markets in April 2007 after the union de-listed 11 seafood exporting companies of the country for failing to meet its specifications.

Pakistan was exporting some $50 million seafood products annually to the EU when the ban was imposed. Pakistan's share of fisheries export to the EU was 26 per cent of its total global seafood trade in 2007, fisheries officials said.

The country's seafood export stood at $317 million during the last fiscal year 2012-13, witnessing a decline of $2.314 million as compared to the export of $319.926 million in the fiscal year 2011-12.

Mr Abedi said that although Pakistan was able to export about 10 per cent more seafood in terms of quantity, it failed to fetch greater prices for its products on the world markets.

"At least $2 per kg on the cuttlefish, which is the country's prime seafood export product, pushed the overall seafood export by $2.314 million," he added.

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