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China lifts temporary ban on shrimp imports from Omarsa

China lifts temporary ban on shrimp imports from Omarsa

China has reversed a decision to suspend imports of shrimp from Ecuador’s Omarsa just one week after imposing a ban.

According to a notice by China’s General Administration of Customs, shipments from the company’s Duran, Ecuador-based shrimp unit can now enter China as normal.

Suspensions applied to Industrial Pesquera Santa Priscila — Ecuador’s largest shrimp company — and Explasa, its second-largest, remain in place, according to the notice.

Chinese customs gave no reason for why it lifted the suspension applied to Omarsa stating only that “imports will resume as normal from now”. The new updated status is listed on Chinese custom’s List of Fishery Products Establishments Registered to People’s Republic of China.

Last Monday Chinese authorities rescinded export approval for two shrimp units of Omarsa and Santa Priscila, with Expalsa’s shrimp unit suspended from exporting to the Asian country three days later. Two other shrimp companies, WinRep, and Congelados y Frescos, also had export approvals suspended.

The suspensions affected 40% of Ecuador’s shrimp exporters by volume, based on trade data from Estadistica (Instituto Nacional de Estadistica).

Omarsa’s shrimp were found to carry yellowhead disease, Chinese authorities said, while white spot syndrome virus and infectious subcutaneous and hematopoietic necrosis virus were detected in shrimp products of the other aforementioned companies.

Chinese authorities’ swift about-face follows consultations made by Ecuador’s aquaculture chamber with Chinese counterparts to get suspensions lifted.

The lifting of the suspension will avert significant disruption to trade; shipments dispatched by Omarsa from Aug. 5 were affected by its suspension, meaning containers of shrimp already on the water faced being turned away by Chinese officials at Chinese ports.

Shipments by Santa Priscila affected by its suspension will still be turned away if they were dispatched from Aug. 25 onwards, Chinese documents show; for Expalsa, from Sept. 11.

Chinese media had estimated importers ordered over 1,000 containers of shrimp with Santa Priscila and Omarsa during the period both firms were officially suspended from exporting to China.