Risk and reward
By James Wright, SeaFood Business senior editor
11 October, 2012
With rising raw material costs and sluggish economies squeezing seafood suppliers worldwide like a vise, it’s no wonder so many are looking beyond traditional markets to stimulate sales. Exporters in countries like Norway, Australia, Vietnam and even the United States want a piece of the action in places where finances aren’t forbidding. Want to grow? Go where the growth is.
Emerging economies in South America, Africa and Asia represent a ray of hope for seafood suppliers struggling to maintain profitable ventures in established and mature markets like the United States and Europe, which are experiencing deep and protracted fiscal woes. As many American and European consumers find themselves unable to afford much fish, consumers with growing incomes elsewhere in the world are increasing their seafood consumption, even for high-end or non-traditional items like American lobster and farmed salmon. Suppliers near and far are trying to take advantage.
In 2009, four budding economies formed a coalition to reform financial institutions and secure greater global influence; as it stands, they all happen to be consuming more seafood. Brazil, Russia, India and China were joined the following year by South Africa, and the group known as BRICS began asserting itself. At the G20 Summit in Mexico in June, the five-country alliance pledged USD 75 billion to boost the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) lending power. While they’re often still referred to as third-world nations, BRICS members are arguably in better economic shape than some developed countries: The IMF recently said the Eurozone was at a “precarious” point and some analysts predict the group could overtake the G7 developed economies within 15 years.
But before you hop on a plane to Sao Paolo, Mumbai or Moscow, understand that opportunities in emerging markets present significant challenges. For one, finding a dance partner you can trust to not step on your toes can be problematic. And that’s only after you navigate myriad cultural, language, political and regulatory barriers.
With big potential comes big risk.
Click here to read the full story that ran in the September issue of SeaFood Business >
11 October, 2012