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India Opposes China’s Fresh Barriers on Shrimp Import at WTO

Shipra Singh
Shipra Singh
Shrimp

India questioned China’s decision to put fresh barriers on the import of shrimp at the WTO Committee on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures. India also challenged the validity of the continued ban on buffalo meat from the country. This is as per a report by Geneva based official.  

In its defense, China blamed India for not sharing enough information to ensure shrimp traceability. China cited the reason for continued ban on buffalo meat was the risk of Foot and Mouth Disease in India. As per Chinese authorities, they would lift the ban only when the disease is controlled effectively.  

During the WTO (World Trade Organization) meet, India expressed concerns about the new health certificate format, which is proposed by China for the import of shrimps, stating that the viruses mentioned for testing do not actually pose any hazard to human health.  

As per the new health certificate, individual health consignments will be tested for all pathogens listed by the World Organization for Animal Health. One of the pathogens is White Spot Syndrome Virus.  

According to an Indian representative, Indian waters are not free from the listed pathogens. So, it would be almost impossible to issue a health certificate in the new format. This would tremendously affect India’s exports to China.  

In 2019-20, India exported seafood to the value of about $6.8 billion. Its export to China alone was valued at $1.3 billion, which accounted for about 20% of its total exports. However, industry estimates suggest that, in 2020-21, there has been a staggering decrease in the import of Indian seafood by China. This includes shrimps.  

Regarding buffalo meat, India highlighted the fact that China inhibited shipments despite the signing of MoU in 2013. China had also cleared 14 centers in India in 2017 for exports.  

If the matter is not settled between the two countries, India would then ask for a WTO panel for dispute settlement.    

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