Vietnam seafood sector calls for Government help

VIETNAM’S seafood sector. including its fish farmers,  has appealed to their government for help to see it through its current difficulties and to help it improve exports.

Truong Dinh Hoe, general secretary of the   Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP)  has pointed out that the industry is worth US $3.1 billion in export revenue and is growing. But he has warned that  seafood exporters and producers still have many difficulties that need to be solved by the Government.

The association  is asking its  Government  to continue reforming regulations and administrative procedures for seafood processing and export activities. These include some provisions on inspection and certificates of food safety for export, and regulations on labelling.

VASEP has proposed that the State give quarantine exemptions to enterprises that regularly import material for processing seafood for exports from the same origin and the same suppliers, based on inspection results of previous lots.

The state should also formulate specific strategies on producing aquatic varieties, which would be a key factor affecting output, use of antibiotics and price, it said.

The association is proposing the Government and the ministry review the use of antibiotics in aquaticulture activities and to promote knowledge about shrimp farming without antibiotics.

Given that trade barriers in the US market, such as anti-dumping taxes, will have significant impact on other key export markets of Vietnamese seafood, including Europe, the Government should support the fisheries industry to help it overcome those barriers. It has also called  for investment in offshore fishing technology, post-harvest storage and trade promotion activities.

The State should also invest in building a modern seaport in the Mekong Delta region and a bio-technological centre in Can Tho to promote production and export of seafood in the region.

The State should also assess the impact of saline intrusion on fishery production and output to avoid increase of production cost and negative impact on output and quality of seafood.

According to the MARD, the US, Japan, China and South Korea were the largest export markets for local seafood products in the first five months of 2016.

The association expects Viet Nam to achieve its target of $7 billion in exports for this year due to the recovery of the world economy and demand for seafood.

Meanwhile Vietnam’s top  farmed shrimp exporter Minh Phu group was given a zero percent anti-dumping duty margin following a decision by the World Trade Organization (WTO) and a deal between Vietnam and the US. Minu Phu’s rate was readjusted to zero percent after the US recalculated the duty without using its controversial “zeroing” methodology.

Vietnam originally challenged Minh Phu’s rate before the WTO in 2010 on the grounds the calculation violated existing tariff and dumping duty laws. A WTO Panel agreed with Vietnam’s challenge and asked Commerce to reassess the rates. This week the US and Vietnam settled the disputes and will no longer base Minh Phu’s duty rates on the zeroing practice

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