Negotiation meeting held on export of Myanmar fishing products to Saudi Arabia

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A worker selects fish at the Nyaungtan Jetty in Yangon.  PHOTO: GNLM/PHOE KHWAR

A negotiation meeting is being held with officials from the Saudi Arabian Embassy over Saudi Arabia’s suspension of fish imports from Myanmar, which will take effect from 1 April.
Myanmar’s Deputy Minister for Commerce met with economic counsellor Hussam Mustafa Luqman Tambusi of the Saudi Arabian Embassy in Nay Pyi Taw on 8 March.
The negotiation meeting is being conducted after the Myanmar Fishery Federation (MFF) requested the government to resolve Saudi Arabia’s ban on fish imports from Myanmar during the 15th meeting between the Vice President and entrepreneurs held on 7 March at the Republic of the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry.
Saudi Arabia has temporarily suspended fish and prawn imports from Myanmar, according to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) announcement, following the detection of two prawn diseases. At the beginning of 2017, OIE detected white tail disease (WTD) or macrobrachium rosenbergii in freshwater prawns bred in Myanmar.
“This prawn disease occurred in the beginning of 2017. We have already informed OIE that the disease was not found in freshwater prawns this year. This disease is not infectious. If Saudi Arabia suspects a prawn disease, we will not export prawns. However, we request that Myanmar be allowed to continue with its fish exports,” said U Win Kyaing, General Secretary of MFF.
The economic counsellor said he would raise this issue with the Saudi Arabian government though the Ambassador. Myanmar can also visit Saudi Arabia to discuss the matter with the government ministry concerned, and discussions can also be held between the representatives of the two WTO member countries, added the economic counsellor.
Myanmar exports farmed fish to Saudi Arabia, which accounts for 30 per cent of its farm-raised fish exports and 40 per cent of rohu exports.
“Fish breeders will face difficulties if Saudi Arabia suspends fish and prawn imports from Myanmar. Some fish farmers may even have to close business,” said U Win Kyaing.
A government-to-government meeting was held for the first time. Later on, more negotiations will be held.
There are some 480,000 acres of fish and prawn breeding farms across the county, and Myanmar has earned US$647 million through its fishery products as of March.


May Thet Hnin


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