According to data from the International Trade Center (ITC), China's seafood imports will reach US$19.13 billion in 2022, a substantial increase of 35% over 2021, and even exceed the US$15.8 billion in 2019. Seafood imports totaled about 4.19 million tons, up 21 percent from the previous year, but down from 4.4 million tons in 2019.
Fan Xubing, general manager of Beijing Haiqiao Marketing Co., Ltd., said: "Historically, last year's seafood import situation was a big leap. We are still the second largest seafood importer after the United States, but in the next few years, I think the Chinese market will continue to grow, while the U.S. market is less certain."
Fan Xubing pointed out that in 2022, China's seafood imports will increase quarter by quarter, while U.S. imports will begin to decline in the third and fourth quarters. China continues to grow in 2023, with very strong import data for the first two months.
In 2022, Ecuador, China's largest seafood supplier, will import as much as US$3.56 billion, a substantial increase of 63% over 2021. Russia followed with imports of $2.76 billion. Vietnam ranked third with an import value of US$1.70 billion, followed by India with an import value of US$1.26 billion. Canada and the United States ranked fifth and sixth, with imports of US$1.23 billion and US$1.14 billion respectively.
Fan Xubing said that the top five countries in terms of imports mainly supply warm water shrimp, pangasius, king crab, snow crab, lobster, etc. These species are also the first choice for the Chinese market.
In 2022, China imported USD 9.8 billion worth of crustaceans (HS codes grouped 0306 and 1605), an increase of 37% over the previous year. In terms of import volume, crustacean imports increased by 34% to 1.126 million tons.
Last year, China imported $5.65 billion of warm-water shrimp, a 53% increase over 2021. The import volume was 874,000 tons, an increase of 43%. Warm water shrimp is also the single product with the highest import value. Imports of cold-water shrimp (HS 030616) rose 69 percent to 72,000 tonnes in volume and 108 percent in value to $542 million.
In 2022, China will import crabs (HS 030633) worth US$1.3 billion, an increase of 6% over the previous year, and imports of 74,597 tons, an increase of 7%. Russia is the largest supplier, the main products are king crab and snow crab, the trade volume is 710 million US dollars, an increase of 10%. Last year, China imported $614 million worth of Boston lobsters, down 10 percent from the previous year, and imported 23,341 tons, down 9 percent. The import volume of frozen rock lobster (HS 030631) increased by 57% to 16,932 tons, and the import was 892 million US dollars, an increase of 43%. Among them, Vietnam exported rock lobster worth 346 million US dollars to China, an increase of 848%.
Last year, China imported 5.1 billion US dollars worth of frozen fish, an increase of 45%, and the import volume was about 2.06 million tons, an increase of 28%. The domestic market is not as good as pangasius. Russia is the largest supplier of frozen fish to China, with a trade volume of about US$1.78 billion, an increase of 71%, and a trade volume of 886,000 tons, an increase of 54%.
In 2022, China will import chilled whole Atlantic salmon worth US$737 million, an increase of 26% over the previous year, and imports of 49,018 tons, a decrease of 8%. Three years after the epidemic, China's consumption of chilled salmon has not seen a significant increase. Fan Xubing said: "China's chilled fresh salmon market is mature, and there is not much growth potential. The price of salmon has repeatedly hit new highs, coupled with rising air freight rates, salmon is more expensive than shrimp. Even if China's land-based farming production accounts for the market size 5% to 10% of the price, the price will fall, and it will not be able to change the overall price structure."
"Last year, the gates of the Chinese market were half-closed, many supermarkets and wholesale markets were closed, and sometimes entire cities were closed. Even so, China's seafood imports still set a historical record. It can be said that with the full opening of the market this year, seafood There's no reason why imports shouldn't grow, our economy isn't great, but it's not that bad either."
"The U.S. market may also be stronger, but I don't think U.S. consumers will necessarily be willing to spend money on high-value products such as king crab, snow crab, and lobster. But in China, if there are no major economic changes, all seafood this year and next year will The import of products will gradually increase." Fan Xubing said.