HCM CITY (VNS) — Seafood export to South Korea is expected to grow steadily for the foreseeable future, a representative of the Viet Nam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP) said at a seminar in HCM City yesterday.
Trinh Nam Phuong said that South Korea was at present the fourth largest importer of Vietnamese seafood after the US, EU and Japan. It is also the second largest importer of Vietnamese cuttlefish and octopus after Japan.
Seafood exports to the South Korean market reached US$421.49 million in the first 10 months of the year, up eight per cent compared to the same period last year, with shrimp, cuttlefish, octopus, and bivalve mollusks being main items, Phuong said.
In recent years, Korea has reduced exploitation of tuna in its sea areas and increased import of the fish from other countries.
It now imports tuna from 27 countries, with China, Viet Nam, Japan, the US and Thailand being main suppliers.
"Demand for tuna in Korea is expected to increase in the future, offering a great opportunity for Vietnamese firms," she said.
Viet Nam's shrimp exports to Korea has also gone up significantly in recent years.
Under the ASEAN – Korea Free Trade Agreement (AKFTA), Viet Nam sees more opportunities to increase seafood exports to South Korea, she said.
However, to boost seafood exports further, exporters should enhance product quality to raise their competitiveness and effect technology transfers, particularly in post-harvest technology, she added.
She said Viet Nam now ranks second among countries exporting processed seafood products to Korean market.
Viet Nam's processed seafood products have had to compete fiercely with those from China and Thailand in the Korean market.
In the near future, Vietnamese firms will have more competitors in the market, Phuong said, reiterating that this required local firms to pay more attention to improving product quality and implement food safety controls properly.
To be successful in this difficult market that has good potential, local companies should conduct research on market demand and provide suitable products, she said.
Ho Quang Trung, head of the Ministry of Industry and Trade's International Co-oporation Department, said preferential treatment to export goods under the ASEAN-Korea Free Trade Agreement are applied only when criteria for clear evidence of origin are met.
Local exporters therefore must study carefully these criteria, check tariff rates as well as procedures to benefit from preferential tariffs under this pact, he said.
Also speaking at the seminar, Nguyen Van Nam, former director of the Trade Research Institute, said "International economic integration has opened opportunities for Viet Nam's economy but it also poses big challenges."
International economic integration impacts all sectors of the economy, especially international trade and investment, which boosts domestic production, creates employment, and improve businesses' capacity, he said.
However, global economic integration has also revealed weaknesses of the country like the poor quality of growth, human resources, competitiveness and high inflation. — VNS
Export growth has not met expectations, remaining confined to raw materials and low-value outsourcing.
"In addition, our policy institutions have not, to some extent, kept pace with the changes emerging from the integration process," he said.
The country has to continue with the innovation and integration processes, but must understand its economic status, strengths and weakness well to adopt appropriate measures to improve its competitiveness, he said. — VNS