Poor pollock exports outlook for 2022 consolidating agenda for value-added processing in Russia
In 2021 fish exports to China are estimated to amount ca.259.56 thousand tons, almost 73% down year-on-year (971.46 thousand tons), reports Megafishnet.com.
According to VARPE (All-Russia Association of Fishing Industry, Businessmen and Exporters), fish exports to China by the end of the year will decrease not so significantly - by almost 43% - from 1,547.44 million USD to 882.23 million USD. “Now the bulk of fish products is re-exported to China via Korea - the estimated volume of fish transit in the period from January 1 to October 31, 2021 amounted to 377.8 thousand tons. But the total volume of exports to China will still be much lower than before the lockdown," said German Zverev, President of VARPE.
Pollock shows the largest decline in exports. According to the president of the Pollock Catchers Association (PCA) Alexey Buglak, by the end of the year the frozen pollock supplies to China will fall 4.5-fold to 150 thousand tons worth 175 million dollars. "About 100 thousand tons will be imported to China via Korea. In general, we can say that by the end of the year, the supply of frozen pollock to China will go down by 60-65% - to 250 thousand tons," he said.
At the same time, German Zverev, President of VARPE, noted that despite the fact that the Russian authorized bodies did everything possible to agree with the Chinese side on the removal of non-tariff barriers against fish products, there are no prospects for resuming exports to China in the same volume in 2022.
"In early November, due to an outbreak of coronavirus among workers of one of the fish processing plants in Dalian, all enterprises of the city's cold chain, including refrigerators in the port, were closed. Frozen fish exports have been suspended indefinitely. There is a high probability that the ban will remain until the Chinese New Year, that is, until February 2022. In addition, since the beginning of 2022, the Main Customs Administration of the People's Republic of China has been introducing additional requirements for labelling frozen food products, which can lead to paralysis of exports to China not only frozen fish, but also other frozen products, including meat and poultry," confirms Alexey Buglak.
According to German Zverev, Russia needs to continue the negotiation process with the Chinese side, but at the same time begin the modernization of the coastal processing industry - to turn it into a proper industry. "That is why VARPE proposes to direct 10% of the new investment quotas for pollock and herring fishing in the Far East to the construction of coastal fish processing complexes with coldstores and berths, the other 10% to the renewal of the fleet. This approach will significantly increase the profitability of exports with no damage for the domestic market and will reduce our dependence on foreign infrastructure," the head of VARPE assured.