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Seafood export likely to move from far to near markets

Seafood export likely to move from far to near markets
Author: Dang Lam - Hai Mien
Publish date: Monday. October 9th, 2017

According to information from a businessman attending global seafood conference in Bali, Indonesia, seafood import market will move toward Asian region  comprising Japan, South Korea and China in the near future.

Shrimp processing at Seafood Joint Stock Company No.1 (Photo: SGGP)

That completely matches with information from a seafood market workshop recently held on the occasion of Vietnam Vietfish seafood fair in HCMC.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development reports that seafood products have been exported to over 160 markets in the world with the three largest traditional ones being the US, the EU and Japan with the turnover of US$1 billion a year.

Brackish water shrimp and pangasius fish are the two largest exported items. The US market has made the fish known in the world while the EU and Japan have contributed to the outstanding development of Vietnamese shrimp industry for the las two decades.

After the US imposed anti-dumping tax on pangasisus fish products and banned Vietnamese businesses from using name catfish but tra fish instead, the products have penetrated the EU market with the name of pangasius fish and then entered many nations in Asia and America.

Since 2016, the EU has no longer been in the top three markets of Vietnamese pangasius after the television in many EU countries discredited the fish while Vietnamese firms have been positive in giving feedbacks.

Replacing the EU’s position has been China. This year, Vietnam Pangasius Fish Association forecast that the fish export to the EU will continue reducing. China is expected to usurp the US to become the largest export market of Vietnamese pangasius in the near future.

Vietnam Seafood Exporters and Producers Association (VASEP) said that besides anti-dumping tax applied since the 2000s, Vietnamese firms now face new challenges from the US catfish inspection program which the US Department of Agriculture has been in charge of since September 1 instead of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

In the meantime, export value from Chinese market has been on the rise and the country has become three largest export markets of Vietnamese seafood thanks to the strong consumption of pangasius fish.

Near markets’ attraction

Market expert Carson Blake Roper said that in the future, Asia will be the main seafood import market, Japan will maintain its seafood demand and South Korea’s import will continue increasing.

Still, China is considered to be the most potential market of seafood export nations.

Shrimp consumption volume in the US hikes about 3-3.5 percent a year, Japan 5 percent and South Korea 7 percent. The rate is 14 percent in China where local production hikes only 4 percent.

VASEP representative Le Hang said that China is the largest brackish water shrimp importer of Vietnam. It is the second largest importer of pangasius fish after the US now. While Japan and South Korea have signed free trade agreements with Vietnam to facilitate businesses’ export, China has still been a risky market with unpredictable uncertainties.

Mr. Tran Van Linh, chairman of Da Nang based Thuan Phuoc Commercial Company, said that China might be the largest import market of not only Vietnamese brackish water shrimp but also pangasius fish. However this market has always posted instabilities with risky cross border trade and the manipulation of some Chinese traders.

They have arrived in the Mekong Delta region to purchase raw materials, mainly preliminary treated, and not paid attention to quality. This has resulted in the situation in which some breeders do not pay attention to chemical residue and that has affected the industry’s prestige.

Mr. Dang Ngoc Sam Thuong, head of the supply chain department of Amanda Vietnam Company, said that companies planning to export to the Chinese market must meet three requirements. At first, they must be recognized by Chinese authorized agencies, products must get quality certifications and be present in the list recognized by the country.

Although the cooperation agreement document in food quality and safety management between the two countries has no such requirements but Chinese sides have asked Vietnam to supply the lists for consideration.

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