The Financial Express

Bangladesh set to lose Tk 6.0b due to China's ban on exports of eel, crab

| Updated: January 19, 2021 18:00:28

Bangladesh set to lose Tk 6.0b due to China's ban on exports of eel, crab

Bangladesh is set to lose Tk 6.0 billion in export revenue as export of live crab and eel fish to China has remained halted for more than six months, industry insiders said.

Bangladesh Live and Chilled Food Exporters Association (BLCFEA) has recently requested the authority concerned to take necessary steps for resuming the export of live crab and eel to China.

They have also expressed fears that Bangladesh is going to lose its export market of these products in China gradually.

They think that China has been hampering imports of these items as a 'trick to keep Bangladesh under pressure'.

In such circumstances, most of the firms concerned stopped their business due to continuous losses in their trading, according to the association.

There are 218 members under BLCFEA. But only 10/12 firms have now kept doing their business, a letter sent by the association to the authority reads.

The association has also sought the Prime Minister's intervention to resume export of such items to China, if necessary.

In June 2020, China had imposed a ban on import of live mud crab and eel fish from Bangladesh as health hazardous bacteria was found in some consignments along with forged salubrity certificates.

The government had asked the law enforcement agency to take legal action against five exporting firms in this regard.

These firms had submitted fake salubrity certificates to the Chinese authorities concerned while exporting crab and eel fish. The false certificates prepared by the five firms had been issued in the name of the chief veterinary officer, according to a senior official at the Department of Fisheries (DoF).

The Chinese authorities found the presence of contaminated substances (estradiol and cadmium) beyond an acceptable limit for human health, he added.

In a letter earlier, Plant and Animal Quarantine Department of General Administration of China Customs (GACC) conveyed the decision on the temporary ban on import of goods to Bangladesh embassy in Beijing.

A DoF official said the Chinese side had requested Bangladesh to take legal actions against the five exporting firms. They also called for a halt in the export of such goods to China from Bangladesh as soon as possible.

The fisheries and livestock and the commerce ministries as well as the fisheries department have been working jointly to resolve the existing problems, a senior official of the fisheries department told the FE.

Generally, live mud crab and eel fish are exported only by air.

The ministry concerned had selected five crab and eel exporting firms.

In September last, exports of such products to China started. But the Chinese authority concerned suspended imports of live mud crab and eel from Bangladesh in October due to the presence of contaminated substances, estradiol and cadmium in particular, beyond an acceptable limit for human health for the second time, the official added.

China is Bangladesh's largest trade partner with annual bilateral trade of over US$13 billion.

Country's export revenue from frozen fish and shrimp is about Tk 45 billion annually. Crab and eel exporters earned about Tk 6.0 billion in the last fiscal year. A major portion of export consignments of crab and eel went to the Chinese market, a sector source said.

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