Source: Seafood News

By Yin Yeping | Feb. 6, 2024

Norwegian Seafood Exports to China Set for Promising Growth in 2024

Norwegian seafood exports to China are anticipated to experience significant growth this year, particularly with salmon exports surging in January ahead of the Chinese New Year holidays beginning on February 10, according to relevant data.

As both nations commemorate the 70th anniversary of diplomatic relations, Norwegian Minister of Foreign Affairs Espen Barth Eide is currently visiting China from Monday to Wednesday, further raising expectations for seafood trade, a pivotal aspect of bilateral commerce.

In January, Norway exported 184,000 tons of seafood valued at 13.3 billion Norwegian kroner ($1.25 billion), marking a 5 percent increase from the previous year. Andreas Thorud, Director for the Chinese mainland and Hong Kong at the Norwegian Seafood Council (NSC), conveyed this information in an exclusive interview with the Global Times on Monday. Notably, exports to China alone accounted for 11,320 tons, reaching an export value of 740 million kroner in January.

“We are confident that the appetite of Chinese consumers for imported seafood is set to increase in 2024,” stated Thorud.

Factors such as the rise of e-commerce, China’s expanding domestic economy, and the growing demand for high-quality and nutritious diets among consumers have positioned Norwegian seafood as a preferred choice, spanning from upscale restaurants to everyday family meals.

The NSC’s primary focus in 2024 remains on promoting Norway’s core seafood products and catering to the robust demand for premium seafood options among Chinese consumers, according to insights gathered from the NSC.

Norway primarily exports four main species of seafood to China: salmon, mackerel, Arctic cod, and shellfish. With the approach of the Spring Festival holidays, numerous Chinese trade agencies have witnessed a substantial surge in the sales of imported seafood.

Weng Qiang, a manager at Beijing-based seafood company Sunkfa Holding Group, highlighted the notable increase in imports of Norwegian salmon in recent weeks, citing a month-on-month volume rise of approximately 30 percent, with a significant portion originating from Norway.

The surge in demand is attributed to pre-Chinese New Year festivities, with Norwegian salmon being favored for its quality and cost advantages over competitors, notably Chilean salmon, which faces longer shipping times.

Weng, as a seasoned trader with Norway, expressed optimism regarding the ministerial visit, anticipating further relaxation of import quotas for Norwegian salmon, which could bolster trade prospects.

In terms of export value, China ranks eighth in the global market for Norwegian seafood exports and remains the largest market in Asia. In 2023, Norway’s seafood exports to China totaled 158,909 tons, valued at 8.54 billion kroner, reflecting an 18 percent year-on-year increase, as reported by the NSC.

Beyond salmon, other seafood varieties including mackerel, Arctic cod, shrimp, crab, and shellfish are gaining traction in the Chinese market.

“As China’s economy rebounds from the pandemic, we observe a promising recovery trajectory within the catering sector. This resurgence bodes well for the seafood industry, especially for high-quality imported seafood, suggesting a broadening of market opportunities for Norwegian seafood in the food service sector,” Thorud remarked.

The visit by the Norwegian foreign minister exemplifies the deepening relationship between the two nations. Thorud expressed anticipation for strengthened ties in seafood trade and enhanced mutual exchanges in aquaculture and fishing in the future.

Cui He, President of the China Aquatic Products Processing and Marketing Alliance, echoed sentiments of growth, anticipating an increase in Norwegian salmon imports this year as China’s consumption capacity continues to recover.

“It is expected that this year’s imports of Norwegian seafood in general would maintain the trend of last year,” Cui concluded.