HA NOI (VNS) — The seafood industry's leading trade group is once again urging the State Bank of Viet Nam to give seafood exporters a longer period in which to borrow foreign currency since such loans have been made subject to tighter regulatory restrictions.
The extension would help the seafood industry overcome capital shortages and other difficulties while battling to become more competitive on the global market, said Viet Nam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP) general secretary Truong Dinh Hoe.
The central bank has already granted the industry a similar extension, allowing seafood companies to borrow in foreign currency through the end of this year, instead of complying with an earlier May 2 deadline.
If an additional extension were approved by the central bank, commercial banks would continue to be able to provide seafood exporters with loans in foreign currency, which currently carry low interest rates of 3-5 per cent.
Lending interest rates for borrowers in the seafood industry currently average about 11 per cent per year for loans in domestic currency. The rates outstrip those in other countries in the region, making Vietnamese seafood less internationally competitive.
Due to financial difficulties, the number of tra fish exporters has decreased significantly this year. Only 160 enterprises continued to export the fish, 30 per cent fewer than last year, VASEP said.
Among these processors, only 20 have seen stable export performance this year. These exporters have accounted for 61 per cent of the country's total tra export so far this year, or a value of US$890 million.
As of mid-November, total seafood export value had reached $5.3 billion. The industry has projected exports for the whole year of $6.2 billion, which would represent a modest increase of just 1 per cent over the previous year. This figure represents a downward revision from a projection of $6.5 billion made earlier in the year. — VNS