|Fimex Viet Nam Co workers process shrimp for export. Viet Nam's shrimp exports are to be tested for food preservatives by South Korea, one of the biggest importers of Vietnamese shrimp in Asia. — VNA/VNS Photo An Dang
HA NOI (VNS)— Viet Nam's shrimp exports are to be tested for Ethoxyquin by South Korea, one of the biggest importers of Vietnamese shrimp in Asia.
Ethoxyquin is a substance used in the preservation of fish meat, and most countries apply a maximum residue limit of 77-150ppm.
South Korea's Animal, Plant and Fisheries Quarantine and Inspection Agency has announced that it would run Ethoxyquin checks on frozen shrimp imported from Viet Nam in 2013, with a permissible limit of 0.01ppm.
According to Vietnamese shrimp exporters, the South Korean market had similar tastes to Japan, and was considered a safe-haven for Vietnamese seafood exporters when exports to Japan dropped off.
The decision by South Korea has put added pressure on Vietnamese seafood exporters after Japan imposed similar measures in May last year.
Last year, South Korea was the fifth largest importer of Vietnamese shrimp, with imports reaching US$171.4 million, an increase of 8.8 per cent year-on-year.
However, shrimp exports to other major markets decreased, including those to the EU, which were down 24.5 per cent, as well as the US, down 18.6 per cent.
South Korea and Australia had been earmarked as markets to be optimistic about after they posted steady growth while other major markets were sliding.
According to the General Department of Customs, the country earned over $242.2 million from shrimp exports in the first two months of this year, down 6 per cent from the same period last year.
The US surpassed Japan as the leading importer of Vietnamese shrimp during those two months, but local exporters are aware that shrimp exports to the US are facing the risk of heavy anti-dumping subsidies.
Due to lower demand triggered by the economic downturn, the EU fell from the third place to become the fourth biggest importer of Vietnamese shrimp behind China during the period.
Statistics from the department showed that as of February 9, Viet Nam's 10 major markets for shrimp saw sharp decreases over the same period last year, with shipments to Japan, the EU and South Korea declining by 40 per cent, 33.5 per cent and 50.2 per cent respectively.
Aside from these export difficulties, the Vietnamese shrimp industry is expected to face other challenges this year, including unstable supplies.
Several major breeding areas across the country have already reported major losses. — VNS