By Nyein Nyein
The COVID-19 free certificate, essential for fishery exports to China, must be issued at the soonest as it can cause disturbance on trading, said general secretary U Win Kyaing of Myanmar Fisheries Federation (MFF).
China authorities have given the go-ahead for fishery exports only with the presence of COVID-19 free certificate on products since last October. Consequently, fishery exports, including frozen fish, prawn, eel and crabs, cannot be exported to China via the land border.
“The Ministry of Health and Sports of Myanmar take all responsibility regarding COVID-19 and, there is no other institution which can guarantee the COVID-free status. Therefore, we need to tackle this process soon since failure to do so will directly harm the trade. The government needs to formulate a better policy for that as soon as possible, following the international standard,” U Win Kyaing shared his opinion.
The Federation stated that the exporters do not know where to seek COVID-free certificate on fishery products.
“We need to follow the importing countries’ rules and regulation to enter their market. At present, the COVID-19 free status on fishery exports is essential for China. We still do not realize which department is responsible for the issuance. Earlier, the Fisheries Department took all responsibility regarding food safety on fishery products and granted certificate. The department is now planning to deal with this to the utmost of its power during the pandemic. However, when we look into Thailand’s Department of Fisheries, they are not authorized for this matter,” he elaborated.
Therefore, the Federation called for cooperation between the official departments concerned, he added.
The Federation has already submitted a report to the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation through the Fisheries Department to screen fishery products and receive the COVID-19 free certificate.
China is the second-largest buyer of Myanmar’s fishery products. During the previous financial year 2019-2020, Myanmar shipped over US$850 million worth fishery products to external markets and among them, US$254 million worth exports flowed into China.
The Federation expects to reach fishery export target of US$1 billion in the current FY. Nevertheless, the fishery exports via land border have halted since October 2020, resulting in a $30 million drop in fishery export value during Q1 compared with a year ago. (Translated by Ei Myat Mon)