Department of Animal and Plant Quarantine of the General Administration of Customs of China-GACC informed the Embassy of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar in Beijing that China has allowed import of Myanmar fishery products only upon production of COVID-free certificate. The GACC mentioned in a statement that to ensure the safety and effective prevention of the spreading of the COVID-19 on the goods plays an important role, to set up an effective safety system by the companies registered to export edible aquatic animals to China following these guidelines, to implement the protection system, to give specific guidelines to check COVID-19 in edible aquatic animals exported to China. Besides, the companies registered to export edible aquatic animals to China need to halt the import process immediately and need to inform China when they found the suspected COVID-19 patients in their companies or if there is a risk of COVID-19 infection in the export products.
The suspended companies should resume the export process to China after confirming that they are safe. Also, China urges companies to work together for security and convenience regarding the export of edible aquatic animals to China. Therefore, the COVID-19 free certificates essential to fishery exports to China must be issued at as soon as possible because it can cause disturbance on trading, said General Secretary U Win Kyaing of the Myanmar Fisheries Federation (MFF). Since last October, China authorities have given a permit for fishery exports only upon production of COVID-19 free certificates on products. Consequently, fishery exports, including frozen fish, prawn, eel and crabs, cannot be exported to China via the land border. Although China earlier allowed Myanmar to export fishery products without having any certificates through regular trade, China did not allow importing without the COVID-free certificates.
However, MFF is not clear about which department is responsible for issuing COVID-19 clearance certificate for fishery products. It is a new order for the COVID-free certificates on fishery products. They are not clear as to who are legal authorities. Also, there are no guidelines to check the COVID-19 on the export products. The Federation has already submitted a report to the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation through the Fisheries Department to screen fishery products and receive the COVID-19-free certificates. On 21 January, a coordination meeting was held in the meeting hall of the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation in Nay Pyi Taw to respond to the impact of COVID-19 on the fisheries sector. At the meeting, Union Minister for Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation Dr Aung Thu said that coordination would be made between the governments to engage the fishery products to the potential foreign markets.
The ministry will also call for coordination with the relevant departments, including the Myanmar fisheries federation, to issue the COVID-free certificates on Myanmar fishery products. China is the second-largest buyer of Myanmar’s fishery products. During the previous financial year 2019-2020, Myanmar shipped over US$850 million worth fishery products to external markets and among them, $254 million worth exports flowed into China. The Federation expects to reach fishery export target of $1 billion in the current FY. Myanmar has earned $278.378 million from the export of fishery products over three and a half months of this financial year between 1 October 2020 and 15 January 2021. The same period of the last FY saw $301.958 million. So, this year’s amount plunged into $23.580 million, according to official data of the Ministry of Commerce. Myanmar’s marine products mainly go to more than 45 countries, with Thailand being the largest exporter followed by China.
Source: The Global New Light of Myanmar