SEAFOODNEWS.COM by Amy Zhong May 1, 2017

Large quantities of Norwegian salmon are on their way to China.

This April has witnessed the hosting ofNorway-China Business Summit 2017 in Beijing, which marks a new chapter in China’s import of Norwegian salmon. Companies from China and Norway have reached 13 cooperation agreements at the summit. And the import is expected to skyrocket by 1400% within twelve months.

The summit has welcomed such guests as Erna Solberg, the Prime Minister of Norway and its trade delegation. It has been the first visit of Norway’s Prime Minister to China within the past decade. It is also the largest delegation in the history of Norway with about 260 representatives.

After the summit, the Prime Minister is to further her talk with Jack Ma, the founder of Alibaba, in Hangzhou about development plans. During the summit, Ma mentioned that during his visit to Norway, he had been impressed with the innovation of local small companies and its salmon. And then Solberg returns to Beijing to meet with President Xi Jinping. The delegation goes to Shanghai and Hangzhou to negotiate with local companies regarding future cooperation.

At the summit, Arctic Green Seafood and Wumart have signed a cooperation agreement. Arctic Green Seafood has not exported any salmon to the mainland China this year yet, though the trading has returned to normal last year. China is too large a market to be missed, according to Hogne I. Tyssoy, one member of the delegation. The future is very exciting with Norwegian seafood being able to re-enter this market.

Before this Marine Harvest, one of the largest salmon producers worldwide, has already inked cooperation agreement with Alibaba and plans to sell salmon through Taobao, its platform, said Alf Helge Aarskog, its CEO. The sales are expected to begin between the first to second quarters this year. If the logistics work well, then it is a drastic change and will benefit Norwegian fisheries industry.

After a decade of marketing, Norwegian salmon have enjoyed great reputation in China’s market. And the marketing budget is to be about 9 times that before, according to the plan of the Norwegian Seafood Council. This means that it will jump from 1.17 million yuan to 8.37 million yuan. And Norwegian salmon can outrun others also thanks to its lower price. The retail price is between 100 yuan to 150 yuan per kilo.

Norwegian salmon accounted for 90% of China’s salmon import before 2010. The Nobel Prize rewarding around six years ago brought China’s import of Norwegian salmon to a halt. And the number dropped below 10% in the six to seven years after that. Chile became the largest exporter of frozen salmon to China. The second and third places went to the Faroe Islands and Scotland respectively.

Norway has been working hard to promote its seafood in China, said the consultant to the Norwegian Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries. Not long ago a team of Norwegian food safety experts have visited China. And some officials of China’s food safety departments will also visit Norway this month. This shows that both party would like to reach an agreement in the salmon trading.

This year the share of Norwegian salmon is expected to balloon from 5% to 65% in China, if everything goes well. According to the prediction of Norwegian Seafood Council, China’s total import of Norwegian salmon is likely to jump to 42,000 tons in these twelve months. And the import value will be about 2.16 billion yuan.