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Seafood Exports Re-packed and Returned Home

US - Is the seafood that China imports from the United States and elsewhere staying in China for local consumption? Evidence suggests that less than 10 percent of the total US seafood exports to China actually stay in the country for domestic consumption, says a US Department of Agriculture report.

China, the world’s largest aquaculture producer, is widely known as a major seafood processor, importing input material from countries all over the world and re-exporting it back to them.

Processing trade accounts for over 40 percent of China’s aquatic production export value. This is a result of successful value-added processing of US and other foreign seafood, its abundance of cheap labour and higher recovery rates.

US origin seafood is for the large part being re-exported back to the United States for domestic consumption. Most Chinese consumers prefer live or fresh fish over processed frozen fish. Furthermore, most Chinese cannot afford the approximate 10 percent of American seafood that does stay in China consisting of varieties served at high-end restaurants and hotels.

US seafood companies and exporters can learn about the potential market opportunities for US seafood in China by evaluating some of the points mentioned in a recent GAIN report: US Seafood Exports to China are Re-Exported to Third Countries.

Although the overall trade figures for US seafood exports to China, suggest that there is a strong consumer demand for US products, closer examination reveals far greater depth to the Chinese seafood market. In fact, it is clear that much of the US seafood imported is destined to be reprocessed in the North and packed for re-export or local clientele with high incomes.

US seafood is not consumed at the rates which initial figures suggest.

Further Reading

      To download the full report by click here.

Ellen Hardy

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