|Workers process shrimp at Ben Tre Import-Export Company in the southern province of Ben Tre. — VNA/VNS Photo Xuan Truong
HCM CITY (VNS) — Seafood exports in 2015 are expected to increase slightly from last year to top US$8 billion, according to the Viet Nam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP).
The country earned $7.9 billion from seafood last year, a year-on-year increase of 18 per cent, with shrimp exports rising by nearly 28 per cent.
Speaking at a meeting in HCM City last Tuesday, Nguyen Hoai Nam, deputy general director of VASEP, said shrimp export this year would remain at around $4 billion.
The US, the EU, Japan, and China are the main importers of Vietnamese shrimp.
Similarly, tra fish exports are expected to remain unchanged at $1.77 billion, he said.
Tuna exports are expected to increase by 5 per cent to $510 million as the economies of the main tuna importing countries like the US and Japan recover, he added.
Duong Ngoc Minh, chairman and general director of major tra fish exporter Hung Vuong Corporation, said several free trade agreements the country has signed or is negotiating — like the Trans-Pacific Partnership, Viet Nam-EU FTA, an FTA with the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan — offer great prospects for seafood exports.
In addition, the Government's recent decision to scrap the 5 per cent value added tax on animal feed would help seafood producers cut costs, he said.
But they would face difficulties exporting, he warned.
A weakening Japanese yen would affect demand there, he said.
Besides, the US, one of the key markets for Vietnamese shrimp, has slapped high anti-dumping tariffs on the product, putting Vietnamese shrimp at a major disadvantage, he said.
But according to the association, shrimp exports would continue to rise in the first half of the year since the industry in other countries like China and Thailand has not yet recovered from the early mortality syndrome (EMS) disease.
Delegates at the meeting urged the Government to strengthen quality management of the entire shrimp and tra fish farming process — from brood stock and animal feed to processing — to improve quality.
To meet export orders, seafood processors and exporters bought raw seafood worth more than $1 billion from other countries, a 44 per cent increase compared to 2013.
Businesses would continue to import shrimp, tuna and other saltwater fish this year to meet their export targets, Nam said, adding that such imports are forecast to go up by 20 per cent to $1.2 billion. — VNS