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Expanding the seafood export market

Seafood export

Tuna export has promising potential

According to the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP), the seafood export turnover in March was estimated at USD 780 million, a decrease of 24% compared to the same period in 2022. By the end of the first quarter of 2023, the seafood export turnover reached around USD 1.85 billion, a decrease of 27% compared to the first quarter of 2022. In March, the export value of key products decreased by 8-39%; in which, shrimp exports decreased the most with 39%, catfish decreased by 23%, tuna decreased by 33%, and octopus decreased by 8%.

According to VASEP, the decrease in tuna exports is due to high inflation and changing consumer habits. They focus on low-priced products. In addition, Vietnam has not removed the yellow card for IUU, which is a barrier to tuna industry. However, there are still positive signals in the export market as the volume of goods exported to the UK, Japan, Germany and Israel has increased. Especially in February, tuna exports to the UK increased more than 13 times, reaching USD 971,000. Accumulated in two months, tuna exports to this market reached USD 1.3 million, tripled compared to the same period in 2022.

Market expert Nguyen Ha said that in the UK market, with the advantage of purely sourced tuna supply, Ecuador and Mauritius tuna exporters are dominating the market. Vietnamese products are still difficult to compete with these countries. However, with the advantage of preferential tariff under the UKVFTA free trade agreement, UK importers are increasing their imports of tuna from Vietnam in the early months of 2023.

According to statistics from the International Trade Center (ITC), the UK is currently one of the top 10 largest tuna importing markets in the world. The UK imports tuna from over 45 countries, of which Vietnam is the 13th largest tuna supply, accounting for 1% of the total tuna imports of this country. In 2022, although Vietnam’s tuna exports to the UK still increased by nearly 10% in value, the reason was due to the average export price to this market increasing.

In addition to the UK, exports to Japan, Thailand, Germany and Israel in the first two months of the year also grew by 32-99%. These are also in the top 5 tuna export markets of Vietnam.

Proactively seizing the market

Recently, the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs have actively organized many trade promotion programs, conferences, forums, and business connection events with some markets. However, facing the difficult market situation, businesses are looking forward to management agencies to remove immediate obstacles for them to stabilize their sources of raw materials and boost exports, especially policies and implementation of preferential interest rates for farmers, fishermen and seafood processing businesses.

Commenting on the market trend in the coming time, Le Hang – Director of VASEP Communications believes that the global market is still heavily affected by inflation, economic downturns leading to decreased demand for consumption and seafood imports, and decreased import prices as well. Seafood exports are expected to gradually recover from the second quarter after international trade fairs in the US and EU attract more partners to come to Vietnam. Regarding the market, according to Ms. Hang, China will become the largest seafood importing market of Vietnam but faces intense competition as exporters from other countries also focus on this market after opening up.

Similarly, exporting to EU, Japan, and South Korea markets is also difficult to make a breakthrough due to inflation making consumers tighten spending and average import prices decrease compared to last year. From the market fluctuations, businesses also need to be more proactive in utilizing the advantages of free trade agreements (FTA), especially import and export tariffs.

In fact, the expanding market along with the tariff incentives from the CPTPP free trade agreement has brought opportunities to increase seafood exports to Australia in recent times. The most significant increase and largest proportion in exported products to Australia after 4 years is white-legged shrimp. In 2022, the export value of this product reached USD 259.5 million, an increase of 171% compared to USD 112 million in 2018, prior to the effective date of the CPTPP agreement. Revenue from shrimp accounted for 71% of the total seafood export value in 2022, compared to 49% in 2018. In addition, Australia also imports a significant amount of other seafood products from Vietnam and has had strong sales growth in recent years. For example, tilapia increased by 158% after 5 years, tuna increased by 81%, catfish increased by 143%, barramundi increased by 255%, clams increased by 68%, fish sauce exports increase by 190%. Although seafood exports to Australia decreased in the first quarter due to inflation, fisheries trade with Australia is expected to gradually recover in the second half of 2023, according to trade forecasts.

Representatives from the Directorate of Fisheries noted that in 2023, despite being predicted to face many difficulties, the fisheries industry still aims to maintain production and export revenue. However, in order to overcome these challenges and achieve set targets, active participation from all parties involved is necessary to improve quality and competitiveness in various markets. Despite facing many difficulties, the fisheries industry also has many positive signals from some markets. To seize these opportunities, seafood enterprises need to ensure financial health to maintain stable production and be ready with raw materials when the market rebounds to meet demand.

Source: Yen Bai TV

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