The European Union (EU), Russia, the United States and China are currently the top four destinations for Ecuadorian exports, according to figures from the Ecuadorian Federation of Exporters (Fedexpor).
From January to May of this year, the country sold to these markets $ 4,354 million , which represents 53.32% of total exports to all destinations, which reached $ 7,871 million .
However, China stands out above the rest with a growth of 61% , compared to the same period in 2019, with $ 1,335 million , 16.96% of Ecuador’s total exports. It is followed by the EU with $ 1,359 million in exports, but with only 7% growth, the United States with $ 1,257 million (15%) and Russia with $ 403 million (4%).
What has generated such a surge? Well, shrimp sales, with $ 1039 million , which of the total exports from January to May represent 77.83% of all exportable supply that reaches the Asian giant.
However, just as this product is the most sought after by the Chinese market, it is also the most pointed out by its authorities, who in ten months have suspended not less than seven Ecuadorian exporting companies for alleged phytosanitary problems.
In September 2019 for white spot and yellow head; and last week for COVID-19 remains found in the shellfish’s outer packaging and container walls.
China, unlike other markets to which Ecuador exports its shrimp, is also a producer of the crustacean. José Antonio Camposano, president of the National Aquaculture Chamber (CNA) , points out that the Asian country had a production in 2019 of approximately 1.8 million metric tons (t), while Ecuador stood at 635,000.
In addition, China exports around 10% of its production, that is, about 180,000 tons ; and that Ecuador provided it in 2019 with 53% of the 770,000 tons it imported from the world, that is, 409,000 tons , followed by India with 23%.
Despite this commercial relationship between both countries, producers and exporters at the same time, Camposano rules out that the measures taken by China against the Ecuadorian shrimp are due to some type of commercial maneuver to protect Chinese producers and described the relationship between the two nations as complementary.
“China is a large producer of shrimp, there is a context that is real, that there is a pandemic that affected a number of countries and that China has taken control measures … and the last measure it is imposing is food monitoring frozen in general, ”maintains the leader, who adds that like Ecuador, which suffered the suspension of three establishments, other countries, including the United States, Argentina and Canada, have suffered the provisional closure of 23.
However, Camposano analyzes the possible effects of a hypothetical case in which Ecuador stops selling shrimp to China.
“When you limit supply, it generates an imbalance versus demand and that imbalance could generate that the price, which is the variable that adjusts, will tend to rise,” explains the president of the CNA, although he clarifies that this scenario cannot be projected. exactly because the demand is also affected by COVID-19.
However, Camposano recalled that this effect already happened, under normal market conditions, last year when Ecuadorian companies were sanctioned by China.
“That probability, just that Ecuador stops exporting for x amount of weeks, motivated an increase in the prices of China, today is different because there is no active demand,” he points out.
Gustavo Cáceres, president of the Ecuadorian-China Chamber of Commerce , also stressed that China’s measures are not exclusive against Ecuadorian shrimp, but for other products from different countries, so he also rules out that it is a commercial strategy.
“In this type of controls by COVID-19 in Chinese customs there have also been incidents with 23 more countries,” adds Cáceres.
Finally, Felipe Ribadeneira, president of Fedexpor , ensures that shrimp continues to enter the Chinese market, meeting the highest biosecurity standards.
Meanwhile, the Chinese Embassy in Ecuador reported on its Twitter account last Friday that Ambassador Chen Guoyou confirmed that “it welcomes Ecuadorian high-quality products that meet food safety standards to enter its market.” (I)
770,000 tons of shrimp imported China from the world in 2019
409,000 tons of shrimp Ecuador exported to China in 2019
$ 1039 million exported from Ecuador shrimp to China from January to May 2020