China: Continued Seafood Import Growth in 2019

China’s seafood imports reached USD 15.44 billion in 2019, a greater than 30 percent increase over 2018 due to rising meat prices, strong domestic demand, and continued value-added processing for the export market. China’s fishery product imports from the United States declined due to the additional tariffs on U.S exports, while imports from Ecuador, India, and Canada increased substantially. The novel coronavirus outbreak in early 2020 nearly halted imports of high-end aquatic products and cast a shadow over China’s processed seafood exports. China continued to be the world’s leading seafood producer in 2019, with production stable at 64.5 million metric tons (MMT). Aquaculture production was basically flat at 50.5 MMT, while wild catch fell to 14.0 MMT, a 5 percent decrease compared to 2018. E-commerce has become a popular way for Chinese consumers to purchase seafood products, leading some producers to shift their focus from foreign markets to domestic e-commerce channels.

China: Continued Seafood Import Growth in 2019