According to Chinese customs, China’s import of major aquatic products from Pakistan (HS Code 03) reached $153 million in 2021, up 9.8% year-on-year.

From fish to shrimp and lobsters, China is the largest destination for Pakistan’s aquatic exports.

“Fishery is a big and emerging industry of Pakistan,” said NARC Islamabad Director of Animal Sciences Institute Dr Saeed Murtaza Hasan Andravi.

It accounts for less than 1% of GDP, but provides vast employment opportunities for the under-developed in Pakistan. Moreover, it can be a profitable profession and a promising means to earn foreign exchange.

Pakistani people are expecting more from the abundant aquatic resources, especially amid the pandemic.

Data of the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics shows that Pakistan exported $200 million worth of fish products in the first half of fiscal year 2021-22, up 3.18% year-on-year.

“We can increase it to $1 billion,” said Pakistan Fisheries Export Association Chairman Muhammad Zafar Kundi.

Eyeing Chinese market

Suhail Firdous is the owner of Super Star Enterprise, a seafood processing plant with its main customers in the Middle East and Far East.

“China mainly consumes seven to eight kinds of fish like abalone, squid, octopus and others and 70% of our fish is sold to Tianjin, China.”

Firdous observed that Chinese market was highly friendly because customers focused on quality instead of the package. In contrast, access to European and American markets requires troublesome certifications.

“China is the pillar of our exports. It is an easily accessible market,” he explained.

Since hitting a 10-year peak in 2019, Pakistan’s exports of aquatic products have been on the decline, but its exports to China have been rising steadily.

Chinese customs data shows that Pakistan’s exports of major aquatic products (HS Code 03) to China grew 9.3% year-on-year in 2021, and 7.4% year-on-year in 2020, when the pandemic broke out.

Amid the pandemic, China has become Pakistan’s largest export destination for aquatic products, accounting for more than 30% of its total exports.

On the whole, the export of Pakistan’s aquatic products to China still has enormous potential to grow.

As the world’s largest importer of aquatic products, China imported $13.8 billion worth of aquatic products in 2021, up about 11% year-on-year, according to the Chinese customs data.

Out of this colossal figure, Pakistan only accounted for about 1%. In addition, the demand for aquatic products in China is still increasing rapidly.

China Agricultural Outlook report predicts that per capita consumption of aquatic products in China will reach 23 kg by 2026.

Whether Pakistan can further enhance export of its aquatic products to China depends on two aspects, ie production and price.

Pakistan is rich in aquatic products, of which marine fishery accounts for more than 70%, indicating that exports of aquatic products largely depend on catches.

THE ARTICLE ORIGINALLY APPEARED ON THE CHINA ECONOMIC NET

 

Published in The Express Tribune, January 26th, 2022.

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