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Seafood trade between USA and Pakistan by Imran Shah, Editor, Insight Food Technology®

Seafood trade between the USA and Pakistan involves the import and export of various seafood products, including fish, shrimp, crab, and other aquatic resources. Pakistan exports a variety of seafood products to the USA, including shrimp, fish, and crab. Shrimp is one of the major seafood exports from Pakistan to the USA. Aquaculture is one of the fastest-growing sectors in the world. However, in Pakistan, aquaculture has received attention in recent years and the government has now established several fish hatcheries and training facilities for fish farmers. Pakistan has the lowest level of aquaculture fish production among the Asian countries but the trend in aquaculture production is increasing manifolds.

Pakistani shrimp, including varieties like black tiger shrimp and white shrimp, is popular in the US market. The export process involves compliance with international food safety standards and regulations set by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and other relevant authorities. The trade relationship between the USA and Pakistan in this sector is influenced by factors such as demand, regulations, and economic conditions.

The major fish imports of Pakistan are Pangasius and Tilapia. Both of the categories of catfish are imported entirely from Vietnam and the import duties are 61% including 20% custom duty, 35% regulatory duty and 6% additional custom duties. Pangasius and Tilapia are aquaculture and can be easily farmed. Pakistan has now started farming of both Tilapia & Pangasius and the experiments have remained successful. In terms of exports, frozen flat fish belonging to demersal species of fish is the most exported category among all other categories at HS-06 followed by Shrimps & prawns.

The USA is known for exporting a diverse range of seafood products to various countries, and Pakistan is likely to be one of the destinations for such exports. Common seafood products imported by Pakistan from the USA may include different types of fish, shellfish, and processed seafood items.

Challenges in seafood trade may include issues related to quality control, transportation, tariffs, and regulatory compliance. Opportunities for growth in the seafood trade may arise from market demand for sustainable and responsibly sourced seafood, as well as potential collaborations in the fisheries and aquaculture sectors.

Fishery products are one of the most traded foods and feed commodities all over the world. Global food fish consumption has increased at an average annual rate of 3.1 percent from 1961 to 2017, a rate almost twice that of annual world population growth (1.6 percent) for the same period, and higher than that of all other animal protein foods (meat, dairy, milk, etc.), which has increased by 2.1 percent per year (FAO, 2020).

Both countries are likely to adhere to international trade regulations and agreements related to seafood. This includes compliance with the World Trade Organization (WTO) rules, sanitary and phytosanitary measures, and other relevant standards. The FDA in the USA and the relevant authorities in Pakistan play a crucial role in ensuring that imported seafood meets safety and quality standards.

The seafood trade between the USA and Pakistan is influenced by market demand, consumer preferences, and economic factors. Changes in consumer preferences, sustainability concerns, and other market dynamics can impact the trade relationship.

Among the top importers of Pakistani fish and aquatic products are Thailand, China, Vietnam, UAE, and Korea, followed by Malaysia, Kuwait, Japan, Saudi Arabia, & Indonesia. Some of the top importers are also among the top 10 exporting countries to Pakistan like Thailand, Vietnam, China, etc. The values in table 3 are calculated on the average exported value from the year 2015 to 2020.

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