Fish export to China still poses challenges: MFF

DSC 0712 Workers work at a fish factory in Yangon. Photo Phoe Khwar copy
Workers work at a fish processing factory in Yangon. Photo : Phoe Khwar

With only one of the two species of Myanmar striped catfish registered for export to China, the Myanmar Fisheries Federation is seeking permission for legal export of the second species to help exporters.
Traditionally, Myanmar fish farms have bred two species of striped catfish, namely Pangasius Bocourtic and Pangasius Hypopthalmus, for export. Currently, Myanmar is breeding only Pangasius Hypopthalmus species on a commercial scale because Pangasius Bocourtic takes longer to breed and is easily susceptible to disease.
However, only the Pangasius Bocourtic species is registered for export to China, and so the Chinese authorities are rejecting Pangasius Hypopthalmus exported from Myanmar. According to the MFF, an official complaint has been sent to the Chinese government through the Myanmar embassy in China to resolve the problem, but the Chinese authorities are yet to grant permission for entry of Pangasius Hypopthalmus in their market, so, there are some constraints on exports of striped catfish from Myanmar.
The Myanmar government must make government-to-government contact to solve the problem, said the MFF. Currently, the complaint has been raised only at the ministry level by the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, and Irrigation and the Ministry of Commerce.
“We have reported to the Fisheries Department on this issue. Acting on our report, the department sent an official letter of complaint to China through the embassy of Myanmar. However, the Chinese authorities have not accepted the letter officially yet. Therefore, the Ministry of Commerce must approach the Chinese government to gain market access for Myanmar’s exports,” said U Win Kyaing, the general secretary of MFF. Myanmar shipped one container of Pangasius Hypopthalmus species as a trial export to China in September 2018, informally, because the species is not registered on the Chinese website, it is learnt.
Myanmar usually exports striped catfish species to China after slitting them on the back.
“Some exporter companies say that they export striped catfish informally, only through a mutual understanding, because China does not officially permit exports from Myanmar. If the process of export is delayed, it is our exporters who suffer great losses. Even under such a situation, we are continuing exports to promote trade. We have already reported to the minister on this issue. If the Union Government registers our export products on the Chinese website, we can export our products to China smoothly. We must learn a lesson from this crisis,” said U Win Kyaing.

—Aye Yamone (Translated by Hay Mar)

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