January 16, 2004



Vietnam To Invest US$630,000 To Boost Aquaculture Sector


The Vietnam Ministry of Fisheries (MoF) plans to boost aquaculture exports and diversify markets this year by investing about VND9.9 billion (US$630,000) on trade promotion, Deputy Minister Nguyen Thi Hong Minh said.


The funds will be channelled through the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP).


Making products more competitive on the world market and penetrating new markets are two major goals, she said.


Funds will also be used to send business officials to overseas exhibitions and seminars in major markets such as the US, EU, and Japan.


Part of the budget will be used to organise a Vietnam Fisheries Week in major markets, and promote brand names of major seafood products like ba sa catfish and shrimp, she said.


She said more effort would be made to increase the market share of Vietnamese seafood in Japan from its current 26 per cent to 28 per cent.


Increasing exports to mainland China and Hong Kong is also high on the agenda.

Minh said Vietnamese seafood products are exported to 75 countries and territories, with the US and Japan the largest markets.


Vietnamese shrimp accounts for up to 50 per cent of the US's total shrimp exports.

Minh said it was important that efforts be made to diversify markets so that exporters do not become too reliant on one market, like the US.


The US won a lawsuit last year accusing Vietnamese seafood exporters of dumping catfish on the US market.


This year, in another anti-dumping case, the US Southern Shrimp Alliance has filed a petition against five countries, including Vietnam, seeking to impose a 30 to 200 per cent tariff on shrimp exports.


"To reduce business risks, we want to reduce shipments to the US to less than 30 per cent of the country's seafood exports from the 37.4 per cent of last year.


"The Chinese market has high potential, given the recent clearance of payment problems, and exports there are now entitled to lower tariffs because of co-operation agreements between China and the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN)," she said.


Other potential markets include Germany, Spain, Australia and South Korea.


Vietnam last year exported $2.24 billion of seafood products, an increase of 10.74 per cent year-on-year. The ministry has set a target of $2.55 billion to $2.6 billion in exports this year.


By November 2003, seafood export turnover in the US had reached $722.7 billion, an increase of 22.5 per cent over 2002.

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