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US Urged to 'Properly Deal with' Aquaculture Import Limits

CHINA - China has urged the United States to deal with a move restricting some Chinese seafood imports as soon as possible.

Li Changjiang, minister of the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine, has requested that the US to allow the exports to go through after checking the sanitation certificates issued by China Entry-Exit Inspection and Quarantine (CIQ).

Last week the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said it would detain five types of Chinese farm-raised seafood products unless suppliers could prove the shipments contained no harmful residues.

Speaking to the US Secretary of Health and Human Services Michael Leavitt and FDA officials, Li said that China had also detected foodstuffs of poor quality among the US exports.

"With the principle of cooperation, these problems have all been properly dealt with. Like the US exports to China, quality problems did exist among exports from one or two individual Chinese companies," said Li.

However, he stressed that China could not accept the US decision to "indiscriminately" detain all aquaculture products.

Ministry of Commerce spokesman Wang Xinpei also urged foreign trade partners to accept Chinese products unless they violated contract terms or local regulations.

The US restrictions included all farm-raised catfish, basa, shrimp, dace (related to carp) and eel from China. The FDA said there had been no reports of illnesses to date, and no recall order was issued.

David Acheson, FDA assistant commissioner for food protection, said the step was taken after finding evidence that certain Chinese aquaculture products contained illegal substances.

An Agriculture Ministry spokesman, said it was keeping close watch over FDA requirements. He said that China had greatly improved the quality of its seafood and the US move to detain imports would have a serious impact. It would inevitably increase export costs to Chinese producers and associated organisations.