Seafood exports from Vietnam to Russia reached US$36.2 million in the first seven months of 2014, increasing 5.4% on-year, according to the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP).
Further rise has been forecast for the second half of this year, since Russia has lifted the suspension on seafood imports of seven Vietnamese companies and the results of the FTAs with the Customs Union are expected to show.
After Russia banned seafood imports from Vietnam on 31 January due to tests conducted by Russian veterinarians in Vietnam in December 2013 that revealed that the shipments did not meet its food safety standards, there was a decrease in exports to this market compared to the same period last year. In 2013, pangasius accounted for 44% of total Vietnam seafood exports to Russia while in the first seven months of this year, it reached only 11%.
Negotiations between delegations of both countries started in June this year to solve technical problems, resume pangasius exports to Russia, promote cooperation in food safety control and disease control on livestock as well as livestock-derived products.
As a result of these discussions, Vietnam will be the first Southeast Asian nation to sign an FTA with Customs Union.
The next negotiating session has been scheduled to take place this month and it would be a opportunity for Vietnam to urge Russia to strengthen cooperation to ensure food safety for agricultural products, increase the number of Vietnam seafood exporters allowed to join the market, and to regulate microorganism limits in aquatic products.
VASEP considers that the Russian ban on seafood imports from the United States, the European Union, Norway, Canada and Australia for one year starting from 7 August 2014 represents a good opportunity for Vietnam and other countries to increase seafood exports to Russia.