January 9, 2004



Vietnam Set To Boost Seafood Markets To Meet EU Standards


Vietnam's seafood exporters have been tasked to improve aquaculture produce quality and international competitiveness in 2004. The National Fisheries Quality Assurance and Veterinary Directorate plans to develop comprehensive national quality standards and food safety controls so the country's seafood exports meet the stringent criteria of markets like the European Union.


The office's target of stricter quality controls will contribute towards the Ministry of Fisheries' aim of achieving export value up to US$2.6 billion in 2004, Nguyen Tu Cuong, head of the directorate, said.


The directorate, under the fisheries ministry, will boost international links by signing bilateral agreements with relevant offices in countries importing Vietnamese foods, Cuong said.


Speaking at the ministry's meeting last Saturday, deputy fisheries' minister, Nguyen Ngoc Hong said to reach the export target, the industry will conduct market research of the US, Japan, China and the EU, to increase seafood exports to those key markets.


The ministry will open sale agencies or representative offices in those four countries this year, Hong added. It will encourage seafood associations and enterprises to seek new markets to widen their export focus.


In 2003, US$2.24 billion worth of Viet Nam's seafood produce was sent overseas, a 10.7 per cent increase over 2002, but export value was 2.61 per cent below the yearly target.


Frozen shrimp accounted for US$1.06 billion or nearly half total exports; frozen fish, US$440 million (19.7 per cent); octopus and squid, US$138.4 million (6.17 per cent); and miscellaneous seafood, US$601.6 million (27 per cent).


Vietnamese seafood was sent to 75 countries and territories last year noted the ministry.

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