Tuna exports likely to reach $1b this year

Monday, Feb 25, 2019 08:15

A tuna processing plant in Binh Dinh Province. Tuna exports are expected to be worth US$1 billion this year, an increase of nearly $300 million from 2018. — Photo Courtesy of VASEP

Tuna exports are expected to top US$1 billion this year, up $350 million from last year, according to the Viet Nam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers.

VASEP General Secretary Truong Dinh Hoe said exports grew by 10 per cent last year to $653 million.

Despite being affected by the EC yellow card warning for failing to make progress in fighting illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, the country managed to increase exports though the growth rate was lower than in the previous year, he said.

Viet Nam exported to 105 markets last year, with the US, the EU, Israel, ASEAN, Japan, Canada, China, and Mexico being the major ones.

The US topped with nearly $230 million worth of purchases.

Frozen tuna fillet was a key export item to the US last year as shipments of processed tuna increased significantly while those of canned tuna products fell, VASEP said.

Viet Nam was the fourth largest supplier of canned and processed tuna products to the US behind Thailand, Ecuador and China, and the second largest supplier of frozen fillet after Indonesia.

Tuna exports to the EU fell by 10.7 per cent in the fourth quarter of last year, but thanks to good growth in the first three quarters, exports were still up 11.5 per cent from 2017 to $158 million.

Similarly, exports to Japan fell by 25.6 per cent in the fourth quarter, but overall exports were up by 1.7 per cent to nearly $25 million.

Frozen fillets was Viet Nam’s key export item to Japan.

With their strong fishing capacity, the competitiveness and supply capacity of countries with “thousands of islands” were much higher than that of Viet Nam, the association said.

In the canned tuna segment, Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines, China, and Viet Nam were the biggest global suppliers.

Viet Nam’s market share fell sharply to just 2 per cent while that of Thailand was nearly 61 per cent and Indonesia and the Philippines’s was 17 per cent each.

Enterprises also imported tuna worth $349 million last year, an increase of 31 per cent, to process for export.

They imported from 49 countries and territories, with Taiwan, South Korea, China, the US, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, and Japan being the largest suppliers. — VNS

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