July 8, 2015


Vietnam's meat industry hit by foreign heatwave



To start with, chicken legs shipped from the US have been widely sold at less than US$1 per kg in Vietnam, rocking the local poultry industry, Tuoi Tre News reports.


Prices of US chicken legs are as cheap as vegetables, which no local meat suppliers are able to compete with, the director of a poultry company in the southern province of Dong Nai told Tuoi Tre.


The latest prices support an earlier forecast that the poultry and livestock sectors will, in the long-term, struggle to survive when cheap imported pork, beef and chicken become the top choice for local consumers once the many free trade agreements Vietnam has signed or is about to reach take full effect.


The worst-case scenario is that foreign exporters will begin to raise prices after local competition is eliminated, which is highly possible given that Vietnam's livestock industry is still working towards self-sufficiency.


In a workshop held in Ho Chi Minh City in May, many local and foreign experts said that Vietnamese companies must be ready to face more trade remedies at home and abroad as the country integrates further into the global economy, with several trade deals already signed or about to be sealed.


That said, in the short term, imported meat, of which retail prices are about half that of local produce, is beneficial to both consumers and the local meat industry.


Foreign competition is expected to increase the efficiency of the domestic industries, bringing down prices of local products.


Vietnam imported nearly US$54 million worth of chicken products in the first five months of 2015, equalling half of the full-year imports for 2014, according to the latest customs data.


The US market accounted for 65% of the five-month import value, making the US the cheapest among Vietnam's poultry meat suppliers.

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