Seafood exports rise to US$2 billion in Q1

Seafood exports were worth nearly US$2 billion in the first quarter, 8 percent up year-on-year, according to the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP).

Seafood products on display at an international fisheries fair in HCMC. Vietnam’s seafood exports rose by 8 percent in Q1 to nearly US$2 billion. — VNS Photo

The US, Japan and China - Hong Kong were the three largest importers.

Exports to the US increased by 16 percent to $330 million, with shrimp, tuna, tra fish, and crab exports rising by 13-53 percent.

VASEP said tra fish prices in the US recovered after bottoming at the end of last year, and white-legged shrimp export prices also went up slightly though still low compared to average prices in the last five years.

The US Department of Commerce (DOC) recently announced the final findings of the 19th anti-dumping duty administrative review of Vietnam’s frozen tra fish fillets exported to the US between August 1, 2021 and July 31, 2022, and the anti-dumping tax rate for five Vietnamese companies was $0.18 per kilogram.

The rate was lower than following previous reviews, and provides a positive outlook for tra fish exporters, VASEP said.

Last month the DOC also announced preliminary countervailing duties on Vietnamese, Indian and Ecuadorian shrimp, and Vietnam's general tax rate was significantly lower than for the other two, it said.

Speaking about the Chinese market, the association said tra fish, white-legged shrimp, lobster, anchovies, and crabs are major seafood exports to it, with lobster, crabs and white-legged shrimp exports rising by 11 times, seven times and 2.5 times in the first quarter from a year earlier.

According to businesses, China is tightening inspection of shrimp imported from Ecuador, causing supply from that country to decrease and creating opportunities for Vietnamese firms to increase their exports of white-legged shrimp to the market.

Exports of white-legged shrimp and crab to the Japanese market showed positive signs with increases of 20 percent and 23 percent.

Vietnamese tra fish is becoming increasingly popular in Japan, with exports rising by 25 percent in Q1.

The association said shrimp and tra fish exports to other markets such as the EU and Korea had not yet shown clear signs of recovery, but tuna exports to the two were up 27 percent and 15 percent.

In general, tuna exports to major markets were solid, with exports to the US and Japan rising by 30 percent and 9 percent, it said.

Squid and octopus exports to Korea increased by 16 percent, while exports to other major markets such as the US and Japan decreased by 3 percent and 21 percent.

The average export prices, though still low were generally higher than that at the end of 2023, VASEP said, hoping companies would get more orders at better prices after upcoming international seafood fairs in the US, EU and Japan.

Le Hang, VASEP’s communications director, said Vietnam, the world's top exporter of frozen shrimp after India and Ecuador, could get new opportunities to boost exports since Ecuador and India were being warned about antibiotic residue and labour issues.

But the problems they face were also lessons for Vietnamese firms to be cautious and strictly comply with regulations in import markets as well as at home to sustain exports.

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