India's growing exports of marine food products to the lucrative $5.5 billion China market have received a boost after China's quarantine authority granted approval to Indian exporters, ending more than a year of uncertainty after the introduction of new regulations.

China's General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) last week announced that it had given the green light to 37 countries to export marine products, after orders had been suspended last year following a revision of safety regulations.

Countries were given one year to comply with the new regulations, put in place to ensure greater safety and in the wake of concerns over imports from Japan after the nuclear scares at Fukushima. According to the rules, consignments had to be accompanied with certificates issued by the relevant country that met the new AQSIQ regulations.

India is the eighth biggest exporter of marine food products to the fast-growing China market, where consumption has rapidly grown with rising prosperity. Indian exports of frozen fish products grew to $155.7 million in 2010, before falling to $148.8 million last year on account of the suspension of orders. Exports reached $35 million in the first four months of this year.

Exports to surge

Indian officials expect exports to surge following the announcement of the AQSIQ, which updated the list of approved countries as of May 31, 2012, on its website.

“Indian exporters can now export their products without fear of their consignment being held up,” an official told The Hindu. Officials believe exports could go beyond the $300 million-mark in a few years, with rising Chinese demand.

Other Asian countries that were granted approval were Vietnam, Thailand, South Korea, Pakistan, Japan, Bangladesh and Myanmar.

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