The Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries (MICAF) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine Department (AQSIQ) of the People’s Republic of China to export Jamaican aquatic products to the Chinese market.
The MoU was signed by Portfolio Minister, Hon. Karl Samuda; Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Donovan Stanberry; Minister of the AQSIQ, His Excellency Zhi Shuping; and Chinese Ambassador to Jamaica, His Excellency Niu Qingbao, at the Knutsford Court Hotel in New Kingston on Friday, September 22.
The Ministry and AQSIQ have agreed to cooperate regarding the export of lobsters and conch in the first instance and, thereafter, other aquatic products with a view to expeditiously establishing an effective and mutually beneficial trade relationship.
Mr. Samuda said the MoU will provide a grand opportunity for Jamaica to enter into another business arrangement with a Chinese agency. He noted that this will “open new opportunities for trade with China in the fisheries sector.”
He gave the assurance that aquatic products of the highest quality will be exported to China.
Noting that Jamaica is governed by global agencies and regulations such as the Codex Alimentarius Commission, World Organization for Animal Health and International Plant Protection Convention, he said country is “unequivocally committed” to the highest principles of food safety and the international standards and agreements to which the island is a signatory.
“The MoU we sign has three main objectives: to prevent the entry and spread of pests and epidemic diseases of animals and plants into one country from the other; to protect from disease, the production of agriculture, forestry, animal husbandry and fishery resources; and to strengthen bilateral exchange and cooperation in the field of the entry and exit of animal and plant inspection and quarantine,” the Minister outlined.
In this regard, Mr. Samuda said the plan of action to be pursued will include establishing prerequisite conditions under which Jamaica can export fisheries products into China, in accordance with international regulations governing the trade of food.
Mr. Shuping, in his address, said the arrangement represented China’s gift to Jamaica in commemoration of its 55th year of Independence.
“The signing of this document is (indicative) that Jamaica is equally able to export to China,” Mr. Shuping stated, adding that both countries remained “good friends.”
Rainforest Seafoods and B & D Trawling Limited are the first two companies that will export products to China under the agreement.
Director of Marketing and Corporate Affairs, Rainforest Seafoods, Roger Lyn, said his company is raring to go.
“We’re very excited about this new MoU that the Ministry has signed…between the Government of Jamaica and the Government of China. Currently, we are already exporting live lobster to the region and whole lobster and tails. We’re looking forward with this new development with China, which is a big market, to see growth. We expect our numbers to double regarding export, which can only be good for the country,” Mr. Lyn told JIS News.
Chief Executive Officer, B & D Trawling Limited, Roderick Francis, shared similar sentiments.
“What this will do is open up access for Jamaicans to ship live lobsters to the second largest market in the world and eventually open up to other products in agriculture which is great for Jamaica on a whole. This first step is really big for Jamaica,” he said