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India has set a seafood export target of US$12 billion by 2025

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Friday, April 12, 2024, 07:00 (GMT + 9)

India aims to increase seafood exports by US$4 billion (€3.7 billion), with a target of US$12 billion (€11.1 billion) in annual export value by 2025. SeafoodSource reports.

In April 2022 - March 2023 fiscal year, India reached US$8 billion (€7.4 billion) in seafood exports, with frozen shrimp accounting for US$5.6 billion (€5.2 billion), including 2. US$6 billion (€2.4 billion) was sent to the United States.

“The government intends to focus on value-added products and supply to high-end markets, while raising awareness among exporters about labor and environmental standards,” two Indian Commerce Ministry officials told Reuters on condition of anonymity ahead of general elections starting later in April.

Officials said the growth strategy will be built around a focus on high-end markets, including the US and Europe. China, Southeast Asia, Japan and the Middle East are minor export destinations for shrimp, octopus and cuttlefish, officials said.

The growth target was set for fiscal 2025, with officials acknowledging that global seafood demand is likely to remain weak through the end of this year.

India's seafood sales are likely to be boosted by the free trade agreement signed on March 10, 2024 with the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), which includes Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. The free trade agreement, signed after 16 years of negotiations and subject to ratification by each country's government, will eliminate tariffs on most products traded between India and EFTA countries, including most seafood. India is EFTA's fifth-largest trading partner after the European Union, the United States, the United Kingdom and China, with total bilateral trade valued at approximately US$25 billion (€23.1 billion) in 2023.

India's shrimp industry is currently under international scrutiny after reports by the Corporate Accountability Lab, the Associated Press and the Outlaw Ocean Project released on March 20 revealed evidence of forced labor and environmental problems in the sector.

Two Indian government officials interviewed by Reuters called the reports unfounded and suggested they may have been fueled by industry rivals in the United States and other major shrimp-producing countries.

Separately, Seafood Exporters Association of India President Pawan Kumar criticized the AP for alleged shortcomings in its investigation, and Choice Canning Vice President of Sales and Procurement Jacob Jose criticized the Outlaw Ocean Project's reporting in an interview with SeafoodSource. And the Federation of Indian Export Organizations (FIEO) said that all Indian shrimp exporters comply with food safety and quality norms of both India and exporting countries, including the United States.

However, two government officials said India's Commerce Ministry officials plan to meet with the country's shrimp exporters and state government officials "to ensure that all export companies meet the expectations of buyers and overseas consumers." The government is also considering conducting an independent study of the industry, they said.

In addition, The Center for Responsible Seafood will hold its second annual shrimp industry summit in Chennai, India, from June 27 to 29, 2024, during which it will host a special session on alleged labor abuses in Indian processing plants.

“The session will provide a forum to hear from all stakeholders, including major retailers, media, standards organizations, auditors and seafood processors,” TCRS President George Chamberlain said in a press release. “The purpose of the meeting is to discuss the facts, identify any loopholes or gaps that may lead to irregularities, and find solutions to restore confidence in Indian shrimp exports, certification and audit systems, and farmed shrimp around the world.”

Source: dalekayaokraina (translated from original in Russian)

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