Jamaica and China sign agreement to increase seafood trade

Jamaican lobster exporters are hoping to see a doubling of their exports with the signing of a new Memorandum of Understanding between the Jamaican government and the People’s Republic of China.

The MOU was signed on September 22 between Jamaica’s Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries (MICAF) and China’s General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine Department for the export of Jamaican seafood to China, according to a news release.

The MOU will facilitate the export of lobsters and conch in the first instance and, thereafter, other aquatic products, the release said.

“The MoU we sign[ed] has three main objectives: to prevent the entry and spread of pests and epidemic diseases of animals and plants into one country from the other; to protect from disease, the production of agriculture, forestry, animal husbandry and fishery resources; and to strengthen bilateral exchange and cooperation in the field of the entry and exit of animal and plant inspection and quarantine,” Jamaican Government Minister Karl Samuda said at the signing, according to the release.

Samuda said the plan of action to be pursued will include establishing prerequisite conditions under which Jamaica can export fisheries products into China, in accordance with international food trade regulations. He added that this will “open new opportunities for trade with China in the fisheries sector.”

Chinese Ambassador to Jamaica Niu Qingbao said upon signing the MoU that the two countries remained “good friends.”

The first two companies slated to export to China under the new agreement are Rainforest Seafoods and B&D Trawling.

Rainforest Seafoods Director of Marketing and Corporate Affairs Roger Lyn said his company was “very excited” about the agreement.

“Currently, we are already exporting live lobster to the region and whole lobster and tails. We’re looking forward with this new development with China, which is a big market, to see growth,” he said. “We expect our numbers to double regarding export, which can only be good for the country.”

A paper released by Jamaica’s MICAF, in March of this year, stated that the spiny lobster fishery is the second-most commercially valuable fishery in Jamaica, second only to the queen conch.

According to the paper, the value of Jamaica’s total fisheries exports in 2014 was USD 12.6 million (EUR 11 million).

Source: Seafood Source