The giant seafood giant RDF Foods Inc. has no plans to expand its business in China, a major source of global demand for its product, even as the country continues to face a crippling glut of seafood imports.
In March, RDF, one of the world’s largest seafood processors, said it planned to open three new plants in China that would bring production capacity to 20 million tons a year from just 10 million a year at the time of the announcement.
But China has been struggling to import nearly half of its seafood from the U.S., a key market for the company.
The company said it was unable to find an overseas partner to buy the new plants.
And it has faced fierce criticism in China for its business practices, particularly its handling of the giant ruminant roe.
In China, the country’s second-largest economy, ruminants are a prized delicacy.
China produces about 10% of the global ruminante production, and the industry is widely seen as a key part of China’s burgeoning middle class.
The government has imposed a wide range of measures to crack down on illegal seafood.
The Food and Drug Administration has issued a slew of new rules on how to label seafood, and ruminantes can be labeled “fresh” or “salted” to help consumers distinguish the products from imported species.RDF said it would begin using a label that would be more accurate to help guide consumers to its products.
But the company said that its marketing strategy was focused on providing a better experience for consumers.
It will not add new plants to China, Rdf said.
The decision was made after a review of the industry’s position and consumer expectations, RAF spokeswoman Lisa J. Hahn said in an e-mail.
The decision has caused a stir in China.
In February, a leading state-owned newspaper said the move would make RDF “like an importer,” according to a translation by the China Daily newspaper.
In a statement, Rafd said it will continue to support the market and its consumers and that it has no intention of entering a foreign market.
Rafd did not respond to requests for comment.