SEAFOODNEWS.COM  [] Translated by Amy Zhong

Beijing’s import of fresh salmon increased by over twenty times in 2016 thanks to the new policies of the local inspection and quarantine bureau.

Beijing has imported 3,705 tons of fresh salmon from this January to November. The number is 24 times of the total import in 2015. This results from the new policies of Beijing Entry-Exit Inspection and Quarantine Bureau this year. For example, it takes only one day for the imported salmon to finish customs clearance now, which cuts the cost by 5 yuan for one-kilo salmon.
Fresh salmon is served as high-end food in restaurants and it is widely received among Chinese consumers. And Beijing has become one of the main salmon markets during the past few years. However, its import of fresh salmon has stayed at low levels because of long-period customs clearance. It only imported 154 tons of fresh salmon in 2015 and the number is about 0.4% of China’s total salmon import, said Feng from the bureau. There is a great gap between market demand and supply.
Beijing’s annual demand of fresh salmon is about 1,500 tons, said Li, the purchasing manager of Sunkfa. The group is the main importer of fresh salmon in Beijing. And it buys salmon mostly from Chile, the Faroe Islands and Australia. Because Beijing’s customs clearance used to be time-consuming, Sunkfa had to import salmon through the ports in Shanghai, Chengdu, Tianjin, etc. And then it took one to two days for the salmon to be delivered to Beijing.
In order to solve this problem, the Beijing bureau improved its inspection and quarantine procedures. And it also drafted an implementation plan to deal with the difficulties in the import of fresh food.
180 cartons of fresh salmon from Australia just arrived during the reporter’s visit to the inspection and quarantine area.

The import company has been able to apply for inspection and quarantine 24 hours in advance of the commodities’ arrival. And it took three hours for the bureau staff to clear the commodities. The bureau used to sample every batch of imported salmon. But now it only samples about 5% to 10% of the imported batches. And the samples are sent to the lab within the day, while the testing results are available within 72 hours. The lab tests salmon mainly for pathogens, heavy metal and drug residues. And all the sampled salmon have passed these tests so far. The bureau has built a management system of refrigerated warehouses as well as a traceability system. Once the lab finds some problematic commodities, all relevant products can be retrieved within two hours.

These new policies cut the import cost of companies and also benefit end consumers. The cost used to be three yuan higher for one-kilo salmon owing to limited international flights in other ports, said Li from Sunkfa. And with these new policies, the cost reduction can reach 5 yuan for one-kilo imported salmon at most. Some salmon can even fly from their places of origin to Beijing in two days.