European Union (EU) importers of Indian shrimp feel the number of Indian exporters shipping to the 28-member bloc has shrunk because of stringent testing norms.
“Importers in Europe have been complaining that the number of Indian exporters willing to export to the EU has shrunk. This is for warm water shrimp or prawn exporters. Apparently, Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA) and Exports Inspection Council (EIC) are telling the exporters to export to the US instead of the EU where there is less chance of rejection and less hassle. But I have not heard anything official from MPEDA or EIC. Perhaps, it is unofficial advice", said a trade source in the United Kingdom.
An official of MPEDA refuted the reasons advanced by the importers in EU. "To my knowledge, there are no such restrictions", said an MPEDA official. EIC officials could not be reached for comments.
EU has stringent norms of accepting the consignments as it had increased the sample size from 10 per cent to 50 per cent for testing the seafood consignments from India while keeping it at 10 per cent for other exporting countries. EU is the third largest market for India after USA and South East Asia.
"It is true that exporters are no more keen to send shipments to EU because of the stringent norms of testing Indian shrimps. These are non-tariff trade barriers imposed by EU. Earlier, about 10 per cent of the sample size used to be tested which has been enhanced to 50 per cent, creating troubles for the exporters unnecessarily. Indian shrimps have a demand in the alternate markets. There is no point of selling products to EU and inviting the problems", said an Odisha-based exporter.
EU, after USA and South East Asia, is the third largest destination for Indian seafood, with frozen shrimp being major export. The 28-member guild of nations accounted for 15.77 per cent of $7.08 worth of Indian seafood exports clocked in 2017-18.