Interview: Chinese market fundamental to Cuban lobster exports, says industry leader

Source: Xinhua| 2020-10-11 12:04:28|Editor: huaxia

by Yosley Carrero

HAVANA, Oct. 10 (Xinhua) -- China continues to be a fundamental market to exports of frozen whole lobster and fishery products from Cuba, a food industry leader here has said.

"China is a growing market for our products, which have been very well received by the Chinese population so far," Marileidy Herrera, associate director at the Cuban import and export company CARIBEX S.A., told Xinhua in a recent interview.

"Consequently, we are going to participate in the 2020 China International Import Expo (CIIE) scheduled for Nov. 5-10 in Shanghai, which will be a critical platform to do business and promote our products," she said.

"To get a handle on our fishing methods," she said, "Cuba uses environmentally friendly techniques and abides by strict controls to protect the species."

Herrera explained that "lobsters are transported live to the processing plants," so that they can preserve texture and flavor after quick freezing.

Cuban lobsters are "fished in the non-polluted crystal-clear waters of the Caribbean Sea, which guarantees innocuity of the product and, actually, constitutes one of the distinct traits of the fishing activity in the region," she told Xinhua.

By the end of the year, the Caribbean nation expects to double the sales of lobsters to China, which has already increased over the past four years.

China constitutes the first market for the export of Cuban goods and one of the most important social partners of the island. During CIIE 2019, more than 10 agreements on trade and investment were signed between the two countries.

Local industry is producing raw and cooked lobsters at the moment, but expects to resume live lobster exports in the future, she continued.

Indeed, in La Coloma processing plant, some 190 km away from Havana, a project is being developed to boost exports of live lobsters, a product highly demanded in China, said Herrera.

Cuba's lobster industry has set up seven processing plants, said Herrera, noting the importance the Caribbean island has attached to the exports of lobsters and other fishery products amid the updating process of the country's economic and social model.

"Therefore, during the COVID-19 pandemic, we have been working under rigorous social distancing guidelines and biosafety measures," she said, "Most lobster production in Cuba takes place in processing plants located in the western part of the country."

"We have the technological infrastructure and the experienced personnel required to control and guarantee the high-quality of lobsters exported from Cuba to different countries, including China," the official said.

The island, however, is planning to reach the Chinese market with not only frozen lobster exports but also other fishery products like shrimps, sea cucumbers and freshwater crayfish, she added.

"In a similar vein, steps have been taken to increase exports of live eels, plus fish maws, products that are very popular among the Chinese population," she said.

Stressing the importance of the bilateral collaboration, Herrera believes "the prospects of exports of Cuban lobsters and fishery products to China have been very positive for the Caribbean island." Enditem