16.10.2020, 17:59

Seafood exports to surge if EU removes yellow card

Local businesses are required to meet stringent food safety standards set by the EU market and combat the IUU fishing following the EC’s recommedations

Le Thanh Hoa, deputy director of the Agro-Processing and Market Development Authority (Agrotrade), emphasised that the elimination of tariffs in line with the terms of the EVFTA are expected to offer a wealth of opportunities for local seafood exports.

Since the enforcement of the trade deal last August, the number of export orders in the sector has seen a 10% increase compared to July, with seafood export turnover to the EU market in September enjoying a surge of 13% to US$92 million, while the nine-month export value reached US$692 million.

According to the National Agro-Forestry-Fisheries Quality Assurance Department (NAFIQAD), Vietnam has 579 enterprises that export seafood to the EU, accounting for 72% of the total number of enterprises. Vietnamese aquatic products have successfully penetrated and secured a firm foothold within the EU market.

At present, Vietnamese seafood ranks 11th in terms of the market share in the EU, behind the United States, China, Japan, Hong Kong (China), the Republic of Korea, India, Mexico, Canada, Singapore, and Taiwan (China).

The NAFIQAD has been recognised by the EU as a competent Vietnamese authority with regard to food safety inspection and issuing certification for fisheries exports to the EU market.

Despite this, NAFIQAD representatives recommended that local businesses meet stringent food safety standards set by the EU market while simultaneously combating the acts of illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing, as previously put forward by the EC.

Dao Trong Hieu, deputy head of the Agrotrade’s Fisheries Market Development Department, revealed that Vietnamese seafood exports to the demanding market remain modest, between US$1.2 billion and US$1.4 billion each year in comparison to the EU’s seafood imports of more than US$22 billion annually.

Seafood exports to the EU market this year are projected to suffer a decline of 20% to more than US$1 billion due to the impact of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

According to figures released by the General Department of Vietnam Customs, total Vietnamese seafood exports in September rose by 1.4% to more than US$826 million from the previous month, while throughout the nine-month period the value of seafood fell 3% to over US$6 billion in comparison with the same period from last year.