April 13, 2018
China now largest buyer of Vietnam seafood, catfish
China has dislodged the US as the largest importer of Vietnamese seafood, even as the country's seafood exports in March 2018 increased 16% to US$279 million and 16% also in the first three months to more than US719 million compared with the same period last year, according to the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP).
The world's second-largest economy has also become the largest importer of Vietnamese catfish. VASEP said catfish exports to China increased 42%, and this market has also surpassed the US to become the top market for Vietnamese catfish. However, the export of catfish to China is a potential concern for the industry both across the sea and land. Because the quality control is not synchronized, the export price through these two route methods are different, leading to unfair competition and destabilizing the source of exports, VASEP said as reported in Customs News.
Exports of catfish to China in March 2018 were estimated at $165 million, up also by 16%. The total export value of catfish in the first three months was nearly $430 million, an increase of almost 16% over the same period. The increase in quantity and the price of catfish has led to a steady increase in catfish exports during the first months of the year, VASEP said.
Exports of bivalve mollusks decreased 10% in the first quarter, while octopus exports increased 19% to $157 million. Other marine fish exports increased 19% to nearly $310 million.
Seafood exports in the second quarter is expected to face some market difficulty including the high anti-dumping tax. The tax of $3.87 per kilogramme in the 13th administrative review (POR13) for Vietnamese catfish makes the number of catfish-exporting companies much fewer. In addition, the inspection programme of catfish and yellow card may continue to affect the seafood exports of Vietnam.
However, Vietnamese companies can boost exports if they take advantage of the free trade agreements with the EU (effective June 2018) and with South Korea, while expanding and transferring to other potential markets, VASEP said.