Ecuadorian White Shrimp Exports to China: Addressing the Sulfur Dioxide Challenge

Ecuadorian White Shrimp

Immediate Actions to Revive Ecuadorian White Shrimp Trade with China

The Ecuadorian shrimp industry has faced significant hurdles after shipments were returned and processing plants were banned due to the “sodium metabisulfite” controversy. Jose Antonio Camposano, Chairman of the Ecuadorian Aquaculture Association (CNA), announced at the Boston exhibition that a comprehensive crisis management plan has been put into place to ensure compliance with Chinese standards and facilitate the prompt restoration of shrimp exports to China.

Efforts to Overcome the Ecuadorian White Shrimp Export Hurdles

Camposano revealed that from December 23, 2022, to February 19, 2023, Chinese customs identified sulfur dioxide levels exceeding standards in 36 containers of Ecuadorian white shrimp. In contrast, about 6000 containers were shipped in 2024, with 9 found to exceed the limits. The affected companies include prominent names such as Santa Priscilla, Songa, Exportquilsa, and Procamaronex, leading to the suspension of six factories.

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Strategic Response and Optimistic Outlook for Ecuadorian White Shrimp Trade

The Ecuadorian authorities have engaged with the Chinese “voluntary suspension” mechanism, halting hygiene certificates for the implicated factories until improvement plans are approved. All affected factories have submitted rectification reports and await China’s verification to lift the bans. Meanwhile, Ecuadorian firms are committed to enhancing their operations to align with China’s regulatory requirements, confident in the quick resolution of these issues.

Omarsa’s General Manager, Sandro Coglitorite, emphasized the rigorous testing of all containers destined for China, with any non-compliant shipments being reprocessed for other markets. He highlighted the industry’s rapid adaptation to Chinese standards and the mutual dependence between China and Ecuador for trade continuity.

Despite the challenges, the Ecuadorian white shrimp industry remains optimistic about resolving export issues shortly, evidenced by ongoing purchases and demand from Chinese customers. The Boston exhibition showcased the industry’s collective effort to address labeling concerns and adapt to Chinese market expectations.

However, Camposano noted a double-digit decline in Ecuadorian white shrimp exports since the start of the year, with a pressing need for the industry to balance pricing and manage shrinking working capital to support future growth. While it may be too early to predict the annual trend, the second quarter will provide clearer insights into production forecasts.

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