U.S. Seafood Imports from China Top $2 Billion
U.S. seafood imports from China, led by shrimp and catfish, exceeded $2 billion last year, representing more than half of total U.S. food imports from the Asian country, reports the U.S. Census Bureau.
U.S. imports of all goods from China totaled $321 billion.
The figures were released this week as U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt and U.S. Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Andrew von Eschenbach visit China to follow up on implementation of a pair of agreements the two countries signed last December to improve the safety of Chinese goods, including seafood.
Leavitt was chairman of the Import Safety Working Group, which last November submitted to President Bush its Food Protection Plan and Action Plan for Import Safety, which call for a risk-based approach to protecting the U.S. food supply, including training foreign inspectors, certifying producers of high-risk foods and allowing for mandatory recalls.
Leavitt is also reviewing food safety preparations with Chinese officials for the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing in August.
The country's seafood industry has been under the microscope since last June, when the FDA issued an import alert of five farmed seafood species from China - shrimp, catfish, basa, eel and dace.