Scotland Pays For Chinese Panda Bears With Fishy Salmon And Turning A Blind Eye To Norway’s Nobel Woes
In October, the BBC reported that Scottish salmon suits Chinese tastes:
China has leapt into top spot in the Far East for Scottish salmon exports – just six months after it allowed seafood to be sent directly from Scotland for the first time. Data from HM Revenue and Customs revealed 2,347 tonnes of salmon were exported to the world’s most populous nation in the first half of 2011.
The Far East total for the period was 3,036 tonnes, worth £16m.
China is now the fifth largest export destination for Scottish salmon.
In January, the Scottish and Chinese governments reached an agreement to allow seafood exports directly from Scotland. The announcement was made when First Minister Alex Salmond met Vice-Premier Li during a visit to Scotland…
Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead hailed the figures as “a huge vote of confidence” in Scottish salmon and another boost for Scottish food exports.
He said: “If this is what can be achieved in the first six months, then the sky could be the limit for exports to China”…
Scottish Development International chief executive Anne MacColl said the announcement was “a true reflection” of Scotland’s reputation as a world-leading producer of high-quality seafood produce.
It’s a true reflection of something.
Back in October 2011, Norway reported China to the World Trade Organisation.
Why? The Independent says:
The Chinese imposed additional import controls on Norwegian salmon last year in apparent retribution for the Nobel Peace Prize awarded in Oslo to the Chinese dissident, Liu Xiaobo. The result has been a collapse in sales of salmon to China, and the sight and smell of North Sea fish rotting in Chinese warehouses. The Norwegian Foreign Office said overall trade with China had grown by 46 per cent over the past six months. But sales of fresh salmon, meanwhile, have collapsed 61.8 per cent.
Officials said they would not speculate as to why Beijing had ignored trade rules relating to Norwegian salmon. But it seems clear that the threat from the Chinese embassy in Oslo last year, of “damage” to diplomatic ties should the Nobel Prize be handed to “a criminal” has focused on a narrow, iconic target.
And that salmon might not be all that good. The Guardian reports:
The charges against the Scottish first minister have been made by Andrew Flitcroft, editor of Trout and Salmon magazine. “The implications of increasing significantly, let alone doubling, farmed salmon production in Scotland are simply terrifying,” Flitcroft writes. “Surely it is recklessly irresponsible to contemplate any increase without first rectifying the dire existing problems. Marine cages of hundreds of thousands of farmed salmon are breeding grounds for millions of sea lice; these parasites feed on the mucus, tissue and blood of their farmed salmon hosts. The companies employ a range of measures using highly toxic chemicals to combat the lice, in order to reduce the damage and stress caused to their captive hosts. This is the environmental calamity that the salmon farming industry and Scottish government is so determined to deny. And make no mistake, there is no such thing as ‘sustainable’ farmed salmon, no matter what the evocative packaging on the supermarket shelves tries to convey.”
Still, who cares about repression when you can make money from fishy deals…