EU cloud over Vietnam export success

VIETNAM’S seafood exports hit a record value of US$8.32 billion in 2017, some 18 per cent higher than the previous year, said the country’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

The top markets were the United States, Japan, China and South Korea, accounting for 55.3 per cent of the total national export value.

But exports to some European countries also rose significantly. For example, sales to the UK were up by 36.4 per cent and to the Netherlands by 48.6 per cent.

The Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP) said shrimp exports provided the biggest contribution to the total national seafood export value, with a growth rate of 21 per cent to $3.8 billion in export value for 2017.

The strong growth in farmed shrimp exports was mainly due to the confidence of export markets for Vietnamese shrimp products, said Trương Đình Hòe, VASEP general secretary.

Other reasons for strong growth in shrimp exports included an increase of 10 per cent in export shrimp price, higher quality of material and high volume of processed products, Hòe said.

Shrimp export value increased by 60 per cent to China, 42 per cent to the US, 33 per cent to South Korea and 18 per cent to Japan.

Meanwhile, the export value of farmed pangasius reached nearly $1.8 billion in 2017, a year-on-year increase of four per cent, despite difficulties in many export markets.

But there could be a cloud on the horizon, with Vietnam coming under increased pressure from the EU to clean up its industry or face sanctions.

Brussels claims that the Hanoi government is turning a ‘blind eye’ to illegal and unregulated fishing practices and the EU has now issued a yellow card giving Vietnam six months’ notice to reform.

However, VASEP has said both the government and the industry were working hard to meet EU demands. The EU will issue a further progress report by the spring.

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