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Coronavirus closes Chinese corridor to Far Eastern Farmers

Far Eastern enterprises are faced with problems of supplies of raw materials to factories of China

Far Eastern fishing enterprises are faced with the problems of supplying raw materials to Chinese fish processing plants. Difficulties are associated with the restrictions imposed due to the epidemic of coronavirus in China.

Coronavirus closes Chinese corridor to Far Eastern Farmers

Alexander Saveliev

Head of the Fisheries Information Agency

China remains the main export market for Russian fish. About 70% of the total export volume is supplied there. According to the Federal Customs Service, fish exports from Russia last year grew by 6,27% over the previous year and reached almost $ 4,5 billion. In real terms, there was a decrease in the volume of Russian fish exports by 3,7% to 1,7 million tons. Almost 1,2 million tons of seafood were shipped to Chinese enterprises.

In the case of limited supply due to coronavirus, it is practically impossible for Far Eastern fishermen to quickly reorient a significant flow to other markets - they are very balanced and sensitive to the emergence of new participants. In addition, over the past 30 years, China has been able to reliably “tie” Russian miners to its ports.

A number of countries remain closed to Russian fish exports, and it is not easy for us to conquer these markets. First you need to adjust your own legal framework. For example, Russian fishery managers, unlike their foreign counterparts, are not allowed to coordinate their foreign economic activity, since the antimonopoly agency regards this as a cartel conspiracy. In addition, it will take years to gradually cover Russian industries with environmental certification.

Among other things, it must be borne in mind that the main share in the total volume of fish exports is frozen fish - more than 85% of all supplies. In other words, we import fish exported to the same China as processed products. This means that all jobs and other benefits from its added value go not to Russian fish processors, but to Chinese.

Experts have repeatedly drawn attention to the fact that you need to export surplus products and derive any benefit for the state. Now the rational meaning of export is being lost, since even the proceeds from it are not aimed at developing the domestic economy, but remain on the accounts of a large fishing business.

China will not lose anything due to restrictions: the supply of about 600 thousand tons of pollock, as well as crabs and other seafood to the Celestial Empire are so insignificant in the total volume of Chinese imports that they can be considered only as a slight error. This is about the same as Ecuadorian shrimp comes to China. China is the second largest seafood producer in the world after the United States.

According to the Chinese Customs Service, seafood imports to China in 2019 increased by 39% to 106 billion yuan ($ 15,3 billion). In 2018, imports grew by 44%. This means that Chinese seafood imports nearly doubled in value in two years. Chinese addiction to seafood and an increase in their purchasing power have been felt around the world, especially by fishermen and aquafarmers, producers and exporters of shrimp, crab, and lobster. All imports of frozen fish in China are mainly processed for re-export.