A SENIOR Norwegian delegation has flown to China in an attempt to unlock the impasse over salmon exports to the country.
Despite a highly publicised trade mission led by Prime Minister Erna Solberg back in the spring, salmon exports have yet to take off.
This was followed up a month later when the fisheries minister, Per Sandberg, signed a salmon protocol in the hope of opening up the world’s largest market to Norwegian seafood.
The Chinese Food safety Authority is demanding stringent health and hygiene checks, especially in regard to preventing sea lice, before they open the door.
They are worried that their own farms could eventually become infected by lice or disease if they relax the rules.
Senior consultant Harald Martin Misje told the broadcaster NRK said that despite complying with the food safety bodies in China, salmon was still not coming into China in the volume Norwegian fish farmers had hoped.
‘I believe we (Norway) have done everything we can to ensure our seafood is exported into China smoothly,’ he said.
‘As well as negotiating an agreement we have answered the many questionnaires they have sent us and we have given them all the assurances we can.’
This week’s mission is being led by Astrid Holtan, deputy director of the Ministry of Trade and Industry.
She explained that the purpose of the meeting is to review the situation and answer any questions the Chinese authorities may put. There may also be a need to go over some of the health related issues again.
She said: ‘Exports of salmon have not increased since 2016, although there has been a considerable rise in sales of whitefish and mackerel to China.’
She stressed that relations between the two countries had warmed significantly following differences over the treatment of the late Chinese dissident and Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo in 2010.
Picture: Norwegian fisheries minister Per Sandberg