The China International Fisheries and Seafood Expo, scheduled for 28 to 30 October, 2020, in Qingdao, has been canceled for this year.
Blaming “the global epidemic situation and the impact of force majeure factors in epidemic management and control,” the organizers said the event is being moved to 27 to 29 October, 2021.
First held in 1996, the event is now one of the world's largest seafood trade shows, featuring 1,500 exhibitors in 2019, according to the organizers. The exhibitor count stayed largely static at 600 in the period 2004 to 2010, but the show’s numbers increased rapidly after 2010, when China started to establish itself as a major export market for seafood. But this year, China's ongoing quarantine requirements on inbound travelers were likely to result in a low turnout.
The Trade Promotion Centre at the Chinese Agriculture Ministry is listed as the official Chinese organizing body, alongside the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT), a government entity. The event is co-organized with Seattle, Washington, U.S.A.-based Sea Fare Group, a seafood consulting firm, but like all events in China, is organized under the required approval of a government department.
After several years of the show taking place at a venue located two hours outside of the Qingdao city center by road, this year, the expo was set to move to a new venue, the International Convention Centre in Hongdao district, located an hour by rail from downtown Qingdao. The event center is near the new Qingdao-Jiaodong International Airport, and was built by a state-owned Guoxin conglomerate, which has also been investing heavily in seafood projects. In February, it purchased a controlling stake in tilapia producer Baiyang, and earlier in the same month, it bought the salmon farming assets of Oriental Ocean, a firm located in Shandong Province.
China’s seafood import market had been strong until the coronavirus caused a decline in the country’s economy. Additionally, COVID-19 infections have been falsely linked to imported seafood, and diplomatic and trading bureaus in Beijing have pointed to the potential long-term collateral damage of numerous trade disputes with political tinges engulfing China. Many countries are currently reassessing their exposure to China, a Western trade diplomat told SeafoodSource.
“The Americans, the Australians, and Indians have big issues with China’s territorial ambitions, and funding for the ostentatious national pavilions which have become a feature of shows like Qingdao may not have been there,” the diplomat said. “It’s not clear corporates will make up the shortfall.”
Photo by Chris Chase/SeafoodSource