A newly signed protocol between Seychelles and China will give fish and aquatic product processers in the island nation access to a bigger export market.
“The agreement sets a framework under which we can export our fish and aquatic product. In 2017, we encountered a problem, where one of our exporters was unable to clear a species at customs in China as they have a list stating the species that are allowed to enter China,” said Cillia Mangroo, the principal secretary for trade.
Mangroo said that exports are expected to start as soon as information regarding the quality assurance of products and who will sign certificates have been relayed to the respective offices in China.
Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, is currently exporting yellowfin tuna to China. With the signing, Skipjack along with other bycatch species will be added on the list of exported products.
“There is all these bycatch that needs to be landed under the law and we can transform these and export them. The agreement gives us the chance to tap into a big market and we guarantee that we will export quality marine and fish products to China with products that they are seeking,” said Maurice Loustau-Lalanne, the finance minister.
“I believe that the signing of the protocol between Vice President Meriton and me is actually a win-win for both our countries. Seychelles has a big sea area so you also have great potential for aquatic products production. It will be good news for Seychelles to export its high-quality fisheries product to China. For China, we do need these fisheries products,” said the Chinese Minister of General Administration of Customs, Ni Yuefeng.
Three agreements were signed between the two countries under the Protocol on Inspection, Quarantine and Veterinary Sanitary Requirements for Export of Wild Marine Fishing Aquatic Products.
The first agreement which was signed at the Department of Foreign Affairs was one for fish exportation to China.
The signing of the fisheries agreement on Tuesday. (Seychelles Nation) Photo License: CC-BY
Seychelles and China also expect to sign an agreement on customs cooperation which makes provisions for assistance in the investigation of customs offences and provisions of technical assistance among others.
This is important for the Ministry of Finance and Trade, and Customs Division as it will help obtain information on cases suspected of infringing on customs legislation in a timely manner, through a direct communication channel.
“We need to reinforce our custom’s cooperation and make sure that the control on both borders is better carried out. We asked Minister Ni for his assistance to see if they can provide capacity building, maybe even provide us with some scholarships for our customs officers to get further studies so that we can improve our customs services,” said Loustau-Lalanne.
The Chinese delegation also visited Globarom at Grand Anse Mahe, and Ocean Basket and the Amirantes Fisheries both based at Providence industrial estate on the eastern coast of the main island of Mahe.
“There are other products other than fish products that can be exported to China. Coconut oil is something that we can export for the use in beauty products. There is also a big market for cinnamon essence in China and some local producers are looking for such outlets,” said Loustau-Lalanne.
The minister added that “as the Vice President mentioned, the importations made per year coming from China is now above 200 million Yuan. Our export of Yellowfin Tuna to China stands at about 3 million Rupees.”
Source: Seychelles News Agency