Croatia to Export Dairy Products, Tuna and Poultry to China

By 17 June 2018

ZAGREB, June 17, 2018 - Croatian dairy companies have expressed interest in exporting their products to the Chinese market, which is why Chinese inspectors are supposed to come in Croatia and visit certain food-manufacturing companies by the end of this year so as to have an insight into production, particularly in dairy and poultry farms, according to information which Hina has obtained from the Croatian Agriculture Ministry.

One of the companies that has seen great potential in exporting to the Chinese market is the Pag-based Paška Sirana, a leading manufacturer of cheeses. "We are oriented towards export as much as possible. Our production capacities are larger than the demand in the Croatian market, where imported products are available at dumping prices. The market here is becoming smaller and smaller for us, and we don't want to scale down our production," Paška Sirana CEO Ante Ostarić has told Hina.

He notes, however, that access to the Chienese market is made difficult due to administrative barriers. We are hopeful that market will be open to us soon, Ostarić says. He explains that the cheese manufacturer will not strive for large-scale exports but focus on the delivery of special delicatessens to highly-ranked restaurants and similar establishments, and this will be done through go-betweens with whom Paška Sirana has already made contact.

The Sardina factory in Postira on the island of Brač is exporting canned fish to China and working on obtaining a tuna export licence. Croatia has already been given approval from China for the export of fishery products and the two countries have agreed a veterinary certificate. As a result, Sardina, which catches, processes and preserves fish, has started exporting canned sardines.

The company's sales director Davor Gabela said that two and a half years ago, they had huge problems in obtaining licences for exporting to that market. If there were no support from our Agriculture Ministry, the Veterinary Department and Croatia's Embassy in Beijing, we would hardly get the licences, Gabela said.

To date, they have made two deliveries of canned fish via the port of Ningbo, the largest container port in China.

Gabela says that canned sardines are a new commodity on the Chinese market.

It has been difficult to enter the Chinese market. We have found a small Chinese distributor that is now trying to ensure larger channels for the distribution of our products. We hope the distributor will make it, Gabela says.

Sardina exports its products to 25 markets worldwide and plans to reach the export of 2-3 million of sardine cans on the Chinese market in one or two years.

Gabela believes that Croatian fish products can reach good prices in the Chinese market since the Chinese appreciate European commodities and trust European production standards. This Croatian company currently exports tuna to Japan and has recently proposed that Croatia seek the approval of licences from China to export tuna there and that two countries hammer out a bilateral veterinary certificate.

In early June, the port of Ningbou was the venue of a conference of the 16+1 format, which comprises China and 16 central and eastern European countries. During that meeting, Croatia's representatives informed the Chinese side about trends as regards contagious bird and swine diseases. The Chinese representatives wanted to know whether Croatia could be given the status of a country free of influenza in birds.

Croatia's representatives underscored that poultry farming in Croatia uses methods that keeps poultry save from adverse effects.

In the first three months of this year, according to the Croatian national statistical office, Croatia's commodity exports to China totalled 220 million kuna or 15.7% more than in the corresponding period in 2017, whereas imports from China jumped by 3.4% to 1.58 billion kuna.