Malta hails bluefin tuna agreement with China

VALLETTA, Nov. 5 (Xinhua) -- The Malta-China agreement on exporting bluefin tuna opens new opportunities for Maltese tuna producers to enter the Chinese market, the government has said.

"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," said a press release jointly issued on Saturday by Malta's Foreign and European Affairs and Trade Ministry, and Agriculture, Fisheries and Animal Rights Ministry.

The agreement was signed in Beijing by Minister for Foreign and European Affairs and Trade Ian Borg, who attended the opening of the sixth China International Import Expo in Shanghai.

Trade Malta, the Malta Food Agency and Aquaculture Resources Limited have set up a pavilion at the expo showing the island country's attractions, including various seafood.

This agreement will open new possibilities for the tuna industry to continue to be an important part of the Maltese economy for export, the press release said.

The acceptance of Maltese aquaculture products by China is a testament to the industry's rigorous testing and adherence to regulatory standards, the Federation of Maltese Aquaculture Producers (FMAP) said in a statement.

The FMAP and Aquaculture Resources Limited also hailed this agreement. They said that Beijing's insistence on high standards was met by Malta's clean seas, well-regulated fish farms and compliance with European Union and international standards.

The Maltese authorities said the agreement came after two years' efforts by the government and local industry. The entry of the Maltese tuna into the giant Chinese market is a significant achievement, the federation said.

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