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Chinese tilapia giant Baiyang cut its reliance on the US market -- and it's glad it did

As tariffs rise, Chinese tilapia giant focuses on new markets.

Baiyang is relieved it made the call several years back to reduce its reliance on the US market in light of the new trade war.

Once accounting for 70 percent of its exports, the United States now holds a 30 percent share for the Chinese tilapia giant.

“We want to keep the market, but don’t want the risk of being too reliant on it,” Nancy Huang, executive deputy director or Baiyang’s food division operation center, told IntraFish.

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The recent trade war between the United States and China has proven them right: current tariffs on Chinese tilapia – Baiyang’s biggest product – stand at 10 percent, but could go as high as 25 percent in the new year, said Huang.

At that point Chinese producers lose their price edge and countries like Vietnam come into play, she said.

The company, shipping 2,000 containers of tilapia a year, is also looking to diversify its product range and opened a factory in Africa two years ago to process wild caught seafood such as mackerel, squid and cuttlefish for the Chinese market.

It also developing new tilapia products for the market, which Huang said it hasn’t served well up to this point. “We used to supply the Chinese market through a distributor, but now we want to touch our product directly.” The result is a range of more consumer-facing, ready-to-cook tilapia products with possible plans to develop its own Chinese consumer brand going forward.

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