Canada must negotiate terms of seafood export, says official

Chennai, Jan 9 (IANS) India seeks a negotiated agreement on quality standard norms in seafood exports to Canada, one of the country’s major markets, a top official of the Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA) said Thursday.

“Canada is putting up stiff rules. India wants negotiated terms, and talks are on. However, the Japanese have slightly altered their norms relating to the presence of ethoxyquin in imported shrimps, which can be met by Indian exporters,” MPEDA chairman Leena Nair told reporters here.
According to MPEDA officials, Canada is one of the major markets for Indian seafood exporters. However, the new rules have not affected the exports in a major way.
Speaking about the Japanese norms, Nair said the country has now slightly revised its norms relating to antioxidant ethoxyquin (a food preservative and pesticide) in seafood which would be beneficial for the Indian industry.
According to MPEDA officials, seafood exports to Japan remained stagnant because of the new norms.
Nair said the seafood export sector logged good growth till now. This fiscal, however, the sector faced some issues from countries like the USA, Canada and China, with their new rules.
She said during April-November 2013 seafood exports stood at $3,208.28 million, up from $2,423.25 logged during the comparable period in 2012.
However, in terms of tonnage, April-November 2013 saw a slide to 600,119 from 613,998 shipped out during the same period the previous year.
Nair said frozen shrimp was the major item exported in terms of quantity and value during April-November 2013 fetching $2,110.70 million. It is followed by frozen squid, frozen cuttlefish, dried items, chilled items and others.
She said in order to encourage the Indian industry to go for value added products, the government plans to continue with its freight assistance scheme, tweaking it a bit.
According to her, the bulk of Indian exports to South-East Asian countries is raw seafood, and value addition happens there.
She said the three-day Indian International Seafood Show that kickstarts Friday will showcase machinery used for making value added products. The event is jointly organised by MPEDA and Seafood Exporters Association of India (SEAI).
Nair said the show will have 355 stalls with exhibitors from countries like USA, Japan, Vietnam, Denmark, Germany and others showcasing their products.
There will be a large contingent of exporters, processors, manufacturers of equipment and machinery form India and abroad exhibiting their products.