The Bangladesh mission in Beijing has recommended that Bangladeshi exporters need to be more cautious about standards for exporting live crab and eel to ensure uninterrupted supply of aquatic products to China.
Officials in Dhaka said the embassy emphasised adopting measures like suspension of exports by the enterprises that earlier submitted fake 'salubrity' certificates to the Chinese authorities concerned.
The mission came up with the recommendation after a meeting with the Import and Export Food Safety Bureau of Plant and Animal Quarantine Department of General Administration of China Customs (GACC), China’s crab and eel importers.
The mission’s observations were sent to the fisheries and livestock ministry for taking action against responsible firms, in order to see resumption of exports of the items to China in the near future.
China has earlier imposed a ban on import of live mud crab and eel from Bangladesh since, Chinese authorities said, harmful bacteria were found in some consignments along with forged certificates.
Asked last week, principal scientific officer (FIQC) and deputy director at the fisheries department Md Yousuf Khan said crab and eel exports to China still remain suspended.
Some firms allegedly submitted such papers to the Chinese authorities while exporting crabs and eel fish.
The certificates prepared by five firms were issued by the chief veterinary officer, according to a senior official at the fisheries department
The Chinese authorities found presence of contaminated substances, estradiol and cadmium in particular, beyond the acceptable limit for human health, the official added.
In a letter, the GACC conveyed to the Bangladesh embassy in Beijing the decision of the temporary ban on imports of the aquatic goods.
China requested Bangladesh to take legal action against the five firms and called for a halt to export of such goods to China as soon as possible.
Live mud crab and eel are usually exported by air.
A recent letter, written by the commercial councillor, called for preparing complete preventive measures for uninterrupted exports of goods to the Chinese market.
The letter requested the authorities concerned to send feedback in this regard to the GACC as early as possible.
"The enterprises need to write how they manage safety and quality of products, that is to show their plant (size, shape and measurement), policy/regulations, relevant materials on the current management system and how to improve the management of packaging company," reads the letter.
"These could be shown via words, pictures, videos or other possible ways."
An exporter needs to have a self-inspection certificate. The company needs to send its products to a qualified lab for testing and then submit the report.
The letter said only the companies having their own self-inspection reports and self-management are recommended for registration and the authorities concerned should conduct inspections before exports.
A few companies may be considered to be allowed to open the exports but they should be large-scale and well-managed enterprises, the mission suggested the ministry.
The department concerned will find good exporters with export licence, the letter expressed hope.
Some Chinese importers suspected that the problem with eel at Zhengzhou port was probably due to substandard feeding of the fish.
The products might not be the exporter's own and the exported eel might have come from another company that does not have any licence, the letter mentioned.
It recommended strengthening the department concerned, including registration and management of exporting enterprises, daily supervision and sample testing of the exported items.
It also recommended forming a working committee to prepare a plan for preventive measures required by the GACC and fixing a focal point person in this regard.
China is Bangladesh’s largest trade partner with annual bilateral trade of over $13 billion. In the fiscal year 2018-19, Bangladesh imported goods worth $12 billion from China, as against exports valued less than $1.0 billion to China.