GEORGE TOWN - The seafood industry is likely to be hit with millions of ringgit of export and import charges annually when a new ruling comes into effect today, eroding the competitive edge of the local seafood industry.
Malaysian Frozen Foods Processors' Association (MFFPA) secretary Saw Hai Earn told StarBiz that the Malaysian Quarantine & Inspection Services (Maqis) was imposing exportation and importation inspection charges of RM2.50 for not more than 50kg of seafood, RM5 per container of less than 100kg of seafood and RM0.05 per kg of seafood for exports of more than 100kg of fish.
"On average, Malaysian frozen seafood producers export more than 150,000 tonnes of seafood products annually.
"The export inspection charges would come to over RM7.5mil (S$ 3 million)annually, which is difficult to pass on to customers if we want to stay competitive.
"The importation inspection charges should also be waived, as there are many seafood exporters who import raw seafood materials to value add to their processed products that would be re-exported," Saw added.
These charges are very untimely, as they would impede export and reduce the much-needed foreign reserves that the country needed, noted Saw.
"They would add more burden to the industry, which is still suffering losses in business and struggling to compete in the global seafood industry.
"Thus, we want to request that Maqis, formed in 2010 under the Agriculture and Agro-Based Industry Ministry, does not implement the charges for Malaysian seafood producers," he said.
Saw added that the local seafood industry was still in a very tough predicament.