July 26, 2020
India's shrimp exporters worry on trade uncertainties with China
Indian shrimp exporters are showing concern after facing difficulties in sending cargoes to China amid a political standoff between the two countries on a border dispute, SeafoodSource reported.
In the past two weeks, there has been a noted slowdown in customs clearance in Chinese ports for shrimp shipments from India. The average checking time has gone from three to 10 days, making Chinese buyers hesitant.
The continued delays have worried Indian shrimp exporters, who are not sure why the delays are happening, The Times of India reported.
Following a deadly border clash in June, India government's earlier this month banned 59 Chinese mobile apps "to safeguard the country's sovereignty and security," The Economic Times reported.
While China had yet to announce any retaliatory measures against India, an unnamed Indian seafood exporter quoted by The Times of India attributed the export slowdown to the border conflict between China and India in the Himalayas.
"There are delays in clearing our shipments of shrimps by the Chinese authorities due to the Indo-China standoff. They are discouraging imports from India, even though they are yet to announce it as a policy, and the industry is concerned," the exporter said.
Seafood Exporters Association of India Secretary General Elias Sait said he is not sure if the delays are due to the border standoff. He also said China is now checking every import cargo to make sure it is coronavirus free after they found traces of the deadly virus on the containers from Ecuador, according to the Indian daily.
Ravi Kumar Yellanki, the former secretary of the All India Shrimp Hatcheries Association, said though China has not issued any policy to reduce imports from India, the delays appear to be intentional. But Yellanki said they could be due to Chinese concerns over the coronavirus, which have recently slowed shipments of shrimp from Ecuador. Because of that, Yellanki said Indian exporters should try their best to ensure their cargoes are virus-free, even if there is no evidence that humans can contract COVID-19 from materials that test positive for the virus.
"With China, everything is uncertain. Be it military strategy or even the business part of it," Yellanki said, adding that he hopes to see "some clarity" in the coming 15 to 20 days. "While there has been no policy announcement officially by China, we have to be doubly careful and see that our consignments are devoid of COVID."