Norway has come up with an ambitious plan to dramatically increase its seafood exports to China, and expects the trade to be worth 10 billion yuan (.45 billion) by 2025, the Norwegian Seafood Council said on Wednesday at a news conference in Beijing.
"The plan is based on Chinese consumers' preference for Norwegian seafood, coupled with projected growth in second- and third-tier cities in China," said the Norwegian Seafood Council's director for the Chinese mainland and Hong Kong, Sigmund Bjorgo.
"Norway, famous for its excellent quality salmon － with around 55 percent of all farmed salmon globally, aims to solidify its position in the salmon market in China, while growing the markets for other top quality seafood products as well."
The council, which comes under the country's Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries, said it aims to see Norwegian salmon consumption reach 156,000 metric tons in China and Norwegian arctic cod consumption to reach 40,000 tons by 2025, along with increased consumption of other species including halibut, mackerel, lumpfish, snow crab and king crab.
It also plans to establish a firm foothold in China for species including sea cucumber, blue mussels, mackerel and cold water shrimp.
Norway's seafood exports to China in 2016 were worth 2 billion yuan, and consumption of Norwegian salmon in China has grown 300 percent since 2011, it said.
It is believed China will become Norway's largest importer of its seafood soon as 51 percent of Chinese consumers already expressed a strong preference for Norwegian salmon in 2017, said the council.
"Norway is strongly committed to working with local government and business partners to ensure increased exports of seafood from Norway to China," said Per Sandberg, Norway's fisheries minister.
"Norwegian seafood companies are eager to supply Chinese consumers with more healthy and sustainable seafood."
The council's target for exports to China was unveiled one day after 140 Norwegian seafood industry representatives met their Chinese counterparts in Beijing, representing the industry's largest ever trade delegation to a foreign country.
The President of the China Aquatic Products Processing and Marketing Alliance Cui He said with the growing spending power of China's middle class and the good quality of Norwegian salmon, seafood sales are expected to further expand in the coming years.
"It will take hard work from both the Chinese and Norwegian sides to achieve the goals, but given the market conditions in China and Norway's strong seafood infrastructure, it's just a matter of time."