China Bans Shrimp Imports from Saudi, Replaces Iran

China Bans Shrimp Imports from Saudi, Replaces Iran

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – China has temporarily banned imports of shrimp from Saudi Arabia over a viral infection, a report said.

The ban has been followed by 40 shrimp exporters from Iran being granted market access.

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

The temporary ban was announced on Aug. 2 by China’s General Administration of Customs and applies to Saudi Arabia’s National Aquaculture Group (NAQUA), according to Chinese media.

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

No end date was given for the ban.

An executive with NAQUA did not respond to immediate requests for comment.

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”.

However, the possibility of WSSV being detected in Saudi shrimp was dismissed as “nonsense” by an executive with a large Asian shrimp company, who told Undercurrent News Saudi shrimp would not have carried WSSV.

Furthermore, WSSV is already present at Chinese shrimp farms, according to China's own government aquaculture agencies.

The temporary ban was shortly followed by market access being granted to the clutch of Iranian shrimp exporters.

Iran exports some 30,000 tons of shrimp annually with China 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.

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.

In 2018, China imported no shrimp directly from Iran, official figures show.

Iran's exporters have relied on sending shrimp to China through Vietnam in the absence of official export approval.

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