During a visit to China, minister for foreign and European affairs and Trade Ian Borg signed an agreement on behalf of the Maltese government with China vice minister Wang Lingjun which provides for Malta to start exporting bluefin tuna to China. “This will be opening another trade niche between the two countries,” the foreign ministry said in a statement.
Minister Borg, describing the development as an “important agreement,” claimed that discussions have been going on for a number of months and hence, “this signing continues to strengthen the series of commercial agreements being signed with different countries all over the world to see that above all, the Maltese product continues to grow”.
Dr Borg said that China, an economic giant, is not the only Asian country that is eyeing this agreement for the tuna sector, mainly due to the fact that Malta already exports tuna to Japan and South Korea.
Minister Borg stated that the Maltese Government aims to extend this type of agreement with other countries in order to continue contributing and pushing Maltese and Gozitan businesses abroad, to expand their operations and above all to see that the Maltese economy continues to be a successful one.
From his end, minister for agriculture, fisheries, and animal rights Anton Refalo said that every effort is being made to expand the international markets in which local products are sold. “Therefore, it is with great satisfaction that we announce that Maltese bluefin tuna will begin to be exported to China, a huge market with almost unlimited potential”.
“This will ensure that fishing in our country will remain economically sustainable for the time to come by curbing the dependence on one market while opening new opportunities for further expansion, both in the quantity and quality, of bluefin tuna exported as well as for other fish that Malta is so renowned for.”
Parliamentary secretary for fisheries, agriculture and animal rights Alicia Bugeja Said emphasised how the bluefin tuna that is caught or farmed in Malta is one of the most sought after products in the international markets, mainly because of because the taste and quality of the product: “I recall how between 2020 and 2023, Malta exported between 16,000 and 20,000 tonnes of tuna to various countries, including Japan, Europe and America.” Dr Bugeja Said described the introduction of Maltese bluefin tuna in the Chinese market as an incredible opportunity for Malta: “Such initiatives result in more income and jobs, both for our fishermen and for all those who work in the tuna farms.”
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