China customs crackdown hurting Hong Kong seafood distributors
Rising demand for seafood from mainland China is driving up customer traffic for seafood distributors in Hong Kong, but a recent customs crackdown by Chinese authorities is hurting business.
“People are craving for overseas seafood. Nowadays the oyster market is going very well,” one sales executive at leading Hong Kong importer and distributor Jet On told SeafoodSource. “We also have an increasing number of Chinese customers coming into Hong Kong as well to seek seafood from overseas.”
However, Chinese authorities have clamped down further on customs between Hong Kong and the mainland in a bid to collect more taxes and funnel distribution through a chosen number of mainland cities that are now allowed to handle imports of seafood and other perishable foods.
Chinese authorities, including China Inspection and Quarantine (CIQ), which operates directly under the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ), have strengthened their checks on the border between Hong Kong and the mainland, according to Chris Hanselman, a Hong Kong-based seafood distributor.
Mainland China’s import taxes total approximately 25 percent on top of the cost of the imported product, making it much more expensive than Hong Kong, which remains a tax-free port. In addition, distributors are now facing more demanding paperwork requirements in mainland China.