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OSLO, March 18 (Reuters) - China will impose new restrictions on imports of Norwegian salmon due to Beijing’s worries that the fish may carry disease, the Norwegian Food Safety Authority said on Wednesday.
The Authority, which says the fish is safe, said China would halt imports from March 23 of whole salmon from the northern counties of South Tronderlag, Nordland and Troms, which accounted for about a fifth of Norway’s exports in 2014.
For fish from other areas, China would demand certificates from April 18 that the fish were free from pancreas disease and viruses that can cause infectious salmon anaemia (ISA), it said.
The Authority said it had several times sent information to China to back up Norway’s view that it follows international veterinary guidelines for fish exports. Last September, China also imposed restrictions on some salmon imports.
“We believe there is no danger to Chinese salmon of infection with the ISA virus because fish products from Norway go directly to consumption,” the Authority said in a statement, adding “the ISA virus is not dangerous for people.”
The Authority would continue to issue export certificates as normal, it added.
China and Norway’s relations have been frosty since a Norwegian committee awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010 to Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo.
Norway is the world’s biggest salmon exporter ahead of Chile. Leading producers include Marine Harvest, Salmar , Leroy Seafood, Grieg Seafood and Norway Royal Salmon. (Reporting by Alister Doyle, editing by Nerijus Adomaitis)