Morocco opening to fish from Brazil evens out trade balance

Morocco already is the Arab country that exports the most fish to the Brazilian market. With the opening, the secretary of Aquiculture and Fisheries of the Ministry, Jorge Seif Júnior, expects to ‘create a more bilateral trade.’

Thais Sousa

São Paulo – The Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Supply (MAPA) announced last Thursday (6) that Brazil can now export fish to Morocco. In a press release, MAPA reported that the Arab country has recognized the International Zoosanitary Certificate (CZI) that Brazil presents to export the product.

Morocco, though, already sold fish to Brazil, being the top Arab exports. According to trade balance figures compiled by the Arab Brazilian Chamber of Commerce, in 2019 Brazil purchased 75,700 tonnes of fish from the Arab countries as a whole for USD 69.4111 million. Out of those, Morocco accounted for 66,530 tonnes for USD 63.37 million.

“Morocco exports a lot of fish to us – when we lack sardines, for example, we import it all from Morocco. And this was unilateral. Only they exported to Brazil. Now we can make it into a more bilateral trade. We’ll have this equivalence now,” the Ministry’s secretary of Aquiculture and Fisheries, Jorge Seif Júnior, told ANBA.

Among the products purchased by Brazil, Seif stressed sardine and tuna. “We’re glad for this position of the Moroccan government. Brazil exports protein to over 100 countries; it was illogical being out of the Moroccan market,” Seif said in a phone interview.

The secretary explained that some years ago, the Brazilian product was blocked out of the Arab country and with the opening now the producers can participate again of this important market. MAPA reported that Morocco imported USD 240 million fish from all over the world last year and is particularly interested in bonito, skipjack tuna, squid, and shrimp.

Seif believes the opportunity can drive up the sector’s productivity in Brazil. “Brazil captures many species in abundance. As the Brazilians prefer other meats like beef, the alternative [for the producer] is exporting,” he explained.

Therefore, the secretary bets on the pivotal role Brazil has acquired in fishes such as tuna and on the improvement of the aquiculture industry. “The productivity can double within a year. The government has done its part. Now it’s up to the Moroccan and Brazilian businesspeople to meet so that this agreement can move on,” he pointed out.

MAPA had a mission scheduled to the Arab country this year – the Brazil Pavilion in the International Agricultural Fair of Morocco (SIAM) in Meknes. The secretary now studies how to use the trip to drive up sales of fish from Brazil to the country. “As we couldn’t export fishes to them [while the mission was organized], it was out of question to include fish in the show, which was organized in advance. We’ll encourage producers to go participate, and we want to send a representation of the Secretariat of Aquiculture and Fisheries to connect Brazil and Moroccan buyers,” Seif finished.

Translated by Guilherme Miranda

Elza Fiúza/Agência Brasil

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