New economic climate triggering Korean investments into Russian fishery industry

November 21, 2008 16:33

South Korean businesses are already making practical steps to invest into Russian coldstore infrastructure and land-based surimi production from Russian pollock for export markets, reports ( with reference to the Association's official release.

The issues were discussed at the 6th International Seafood Show held on 13-15 November 2008 in Busan (South Korea) by President of Vladivostok-based Pollock Association German Zverev and his Korean colleagues. The mood of the Korean investors has become more favourable for the Russians because as of the 1st of January 2009 the Russian fishery industry is switching to mandatory customs clearance of the EEZ catch in the Russian ports.

More specifically, leaders of Korea's largest producers of surimi-based items such as Korean Seafoods Co., Ltd, Everbluesea Co., Ltd, and Best Marine Seafood Co., Ltd have expressed the common concern of the Korean processors about a 35% drop of surimi import from the USA in 2008. As per mid-November 2008, the shortage of surimi on the South Korean market was estimated at more than 25,000 tonnes, while in 2009 the figure is forecasted to reach 40,000 tonnes. Taking into account declining catches of pollock in the USA there are no grounds to expect stabilization of surimi imports from the USA.

Against the above background the Russian pollock surimi steps forward as an alternative product to satisfy the need of the Korean processors. The Korean investors have already been implementing for some time the projects on construction of surimi factories in the North Kuriles and in Kamchatka. Surimi production equipment exported to Russia has no analogues made by the domestic producers and therefore exemption from the customs duties will not affect the Russian manufacturers. Construction of state-of-the-art factories for surimi production on the Russian territory is to enable the Russian producers substitute the US processors on the markets of pollock-based products with added value.

At the exhibition Mr. Zverev has also presented the federal target program "Higher efficiency of usage and development of the resource potential of the fishery industry in 2009-2013". President of Korea's Reefer Association has shown a great interest in investments of the Korean capital into construction of coldstores in the Russian Far East.

The Russian pollock leader has also held talks with BIFEX, operator of Busan's international wholesale market. The company is a partner of BPA, a container operator of the Busan Port. The sides have agreed that it is quite feasible to prepare two investment projects on building coldstores in the Russian Far East and the Korean side has suggested looking into a possibility to include these projects into the above mentioned federal program.

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