Trump policies encourage Chinese development of trade center in Qingdao

A Chinese fisheries tycoon is pledging to take advantage of U.S. trade protectionism and disengagement from Asia – as signaled by the Trump administration withdrawal from the nascent Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade pact.

Liu Chun Hui, chairman of the Lu Hai Feng Group, said his company will build a seafood trading center in Qingdao to lure in more of Russia’s wild catch supply, to be processed and sold locally and exported to Asian markets.

A major operator of vessels and a mariculture farms, Liu’s firm is currently developing a 12-square-kilometer site in Qingdao to serve as a hub for unloading of large trawlers, with catch to be processed in factories on-site and stored in a giant cold chain warehouse before being dispatched to buyers in China and elsewhere in Asia, including Japan and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) bloc, with which China has a free-trade deal.

The Qingdao International Seafood Trading Center, which will be built at a cost of almost USD 2.5 billion (EUR 2.3 billion), will benefit from its proximity to Russian supply and growing Asian markets for seafood, Liu said. The center will also offer trawler servicing and accommodation for seamen, said Liu – as well as a “leisure center” offering fishing, shopping and accommodation to tourists.

Liu said he decided to commit to the project in part due to the withdrawal of the U.S. from the Trans-Pacific Partnership. His plans are based on the Chinese government’s signature “One Belt, Two Roads” plan to expand Chinese influence through Asia and to integrate regional trade into its ambit. Liu is also upbeat on China’s plans to build a free-trade zone that will encompass much of Asia and possibly Russia – allowing the Qingdao center to tap Asian markets tax free, he said.

In announcing the project, Liu said China needs to capture more value from the seafood industry.

“For too long we have been doing catch and basic processing for export clients who captured the bulk of the value,” he said.


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