Seafood imports rise to meet export demand

Monday, Sep 08, 2014 08:32

During the first eight months of the year, Viet Nam gained a year-on-year surge in seafood exports of 25.4 per cent to $4.95 billion.— Photo

HA NOI (Biz Hub) — Viet Nam has imported a large volume of seafood products for export processing because of a lack of material from domestic sources, experts revealed.

Figures from the Viet Nam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP) showed that in the first eight months of 2014, Vietnamese seafood export enterprises registered a 73-per cent year-on-year increase in seafood imports to US$720 million.

Truong Dinh Hoe, VASEP general secretary said that the increased import volume consisted largely of material for export processing because of the high demand for seafood exports in the world market.

During the first eight months of the year, Viet Nam gained a year-on-year surge in seafood exports of 25.4 per cent to $4.95 billion, Hoe said.

According to the General Department of Customs, in the first seven months of this year, Viet Nam imported seafood products worth $203 million from India, $42 million from Taiwan, $34.8 million from Norway and $33 million from Japan, as well as $28.7 million from Indonesia.

Hoe revealed that seafood exporting enterprises had to import more material to expand their export customer base by year end and meet domestic demand, especially for tuna and salmon.

According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Viet Nam's largest source of seafood imports is India, which accounts for 33.5 per cent of total seafood imports, followed by Taiwan, Norway, Japan and Indonesia. The main import is shrimp because disease has adversely affected the country's domestic shrimp production, said Nguyen Van Kich, chairman of Cafatex Seafood Joint Stock Company.

Kich added that the country's seafood export processors had to import shrimp from India, which was cheaper at $1 to $2 per kilo, to ensure that they would meet the deadline for deliveries of exports.

Kich also noted that domestic factories' export processing capability remained high, so they decided to continue processing in spite of a lack of domestic material. In the future, domestic enterprises are expected to import more seafood as the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement is signed by TPP member countries, said Kich.

The agreement is expected to create opportunities for domestic enterprises to export their products at zero tax rates. The anticipated high demand serves as a great challenge for the domestic seafood industry, added Kich.

Pham Anh Tuan, deputy director of the General Department of Fisheries, said that in the future, the country's fisheries industry would prioritise the review and adjustment of plans for growing and consuming key seafood products, including tra fish, shrimp, prawn and tilapia, as well as molluscs. — VNS

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