April 22, 2024


Vietnamese shrimp exporters call for removal of South Korea's import quota


The Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP) has raised concerns about a significant obstacle faced by Vietnamese shrimp exporters trying to penetrate the South Korean market, despite South Korea enjoying zero duties on its seafood exports to Vietnam, Saigon Times reported.


VASEP urged the Vietnamese government to request South Korea to eliminate an import quota for Vietnamese shrimps, as outlined in the Vietnam-Korea Free Trade Agreement (VKFTA).


VASEP warned that if this restriction persists, it will hinder Vietnam's shrimp businesses from expanding their exports to South Korea, potentially impacting the country's seafood industry.


Under the VKFTA, which entered into force in 2015 and is now in its tenth year, most seafood items benefit from a 0% duty. However, a tariff quota management system imposed by South Korea limits certain seafood imports from Vietnam to 15,000 tonnes per year duty-free, with a 20% tariff applied to any imports exceeding this quota.


Conversely, Vietnam imposes zero tariffs on all seafood imports from South Korea. This discrepancy means that while Vietnam grants full access to South Korean seafood, Vietnamese shrimp exports to South Korea are subject to a quota.


This situation has prompted some importers to explore alternatives, such as purchasing shrimp from countries like Peru, which has a free trade agreement with South Korea, offering tariff-free access within 5-7 years, potentially undermining the advantages provided by the VKFTA for Vietnamese shrimp products.


VASEP emphasised the importance of South Korea considering the removal of the tariff quota mechanism for Vietnamese shrimp under the VKFTA to safeguard the market share and long-term interests of Vietnamese shrimp in South Korea.


Given South Korea's current challenges with inflation and rising food prices, VASEP suggested that the South Korean government may be receptive to this proposal. South Korea has been actively reducing import duties on various items and appears willing to explore solutions to lower imported food prices, including discussing adjustments to VKFTA tariffs.


Over the years, the VKFTA has significantly benefited Vietnam's key export products to South Korea, including seafood. Vietnamese seafood exports to South Korea surged from US$585 million in 2015 to US$950 million in 2022, before slightly declining to US$786 million in 2023.


-      Saigon Times

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