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  • During 2019 alone Ecuador amounted $1.9 billion in revenues.

    During 2019 alone Ecuador amounted $1.9 billion in revenues. | Photo: AFP

Published 10 July 2020
Opinion

The shrimp sector is Ecuador's second-largest export after oil.

China is suspending shrimps imports from three Ecuadorian firms after detecting COVID-19 in its packaging, the General Administration of Customs (GAC) announced on Friday.

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Although the frozen shrimp itself tested negative, samples from Industrial Pesquera Santa Priscila SA, Empacreci SA, and Empacadora Del Pacifico Sociedad Anonima Edpacif showed six positive results as GAC warned that "there is a risk" it could transmit the virus.

"All products will be returned or disposed of. The GAC has reported the relevant situation to the Ecuadorian government and asked it to make an investigation and reply to China at an early date", Bi Kexin head of the Bureau of Import and Export Food Safety said during a press conference.

As China began to test importing fresh and frozen food following the evidence of coronavirus particles in a chopping board to cut salmon in June, authorities have taken  227,934 samples to date.

However, the results reported today are the firsts since the measure was implemented. The samples were examined on July 3, from cargoes at Dalian and Xiamen ports.

"Experts believe that the results do not mean they are contagious but that the companies' food safety management systems are not well implemented," the official remarked.

China is Ecuador's biggest shrimp market. During 2019 alone, the Latin American country amounted to $1.9 billion in revenues.

Although the COVID-19 crisis had initially paralyzed the exports, trade began to rise at the beginning of April, recording a historic US$95 million.

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