Growing demand for seafood in China and Middle East is likely to retain Pakistan's major share of shrimp, cuttlefish and squid this fiscal year, exporters said on Monday. Pakistan is expected to export seafood of maximum $7 million to the world's largest market this fiscal year as the EU has only enlisted companies initially, they said. Pakistan's seafood export stood at $50 million in 2007 when the EU imposed a ban on 11 exporting companies for defiance of hygienic specifications. "The country will now look into the price issue whether the 27-nation bloc market provides its companies with a lucrative business after six years," exporters said. They said Pakistan is unlikely to give a greater focus to the EU market for its seafood export as China and Middle East are paying at least 30 percent higher prices for fish and shrimp items. "China and Middle East markets have gained huge importance for Pakistan exporters in the last six years, although the EU is now open," said former Chairman of Pakistan Fisheries Exporters Association (Pakfea), Faisal Iftikhar. He said the country may be able to expand its trade of seafood to maximum $7 million in the present fiscal year ending next June. "Seafood export to the EU may stay between $3 million and $7 million," he said. There's need for enlistment of more exporting companies to inflate the country's seafood exports to the world largest market, he said, adding that the opening of the Union markets is a "good" omen for the nation. He said the EU had been a regular market for Pakistan and still has a great significance but it will take time to revert the country's seafood export to its markets as China and Middle East markets have big appeal for its shrimp and fish species. "Pakistan will now be able to export PUD, pink and brown shrimps, squid and cuttlefish to the EU," CEO Akhlaq Enterprises (Pvt) Ltd, Akhlaq Hussain Abedi told Business Recorder. The ban cost Pakistan about $300 million since 2007. Pakistan's share of fisheries export to the EU markets stood at 26 percent of its total global seafood trade in 2007, fisheries officials said.