|Fishermen catch tuna in the central province of Phu Yen's Tuy Hoa City. Tuna exports have continued to slide this year, plummeting 22 per cent in January to US$33 million. - VNA/VNS Photo The Lap
HA NOI (VNS) — Tuna exports have continued to slide this year due to a fall in consumption in major import markets, according to the Viet Nam Association of Seafood Exporters (Vasep).
Vasep's data showed that tuna exports plummeted 22 per cent in January to US$33 million.
The downward trend started in 2013, with a 7.2 per cent fall from the previous year to $527 million and an 8.1 per cent drop in 2014 to $484 million.
Experts predict a rocky first half of this year for tuna exports, as there are no signs of recovery in tuna consumption demand and tax pressures on Vietnamese exporters remain high, especially in major import markets, including Japan, the United States and the European Union (EU).
According to Vasep, unstable sources of raw tuna are the primary reason for falling tuna exports. Viet Nam remains reliant on the import of half of its raw tuna, on which a temporary import tax rate of 10 to 24 per cent has been imposed. While the import tax rate on raw tuna is zero in several countries, tax imposition is also undermining the competitiveness of Vietnamese tuna exporters.
High demand in major import markets, related to the quality, origin and compliance with international standards in tuna exploitation, are also some of the challenges faced by Viet Nam.
Vasep said management and data collection on tuna exploitation remains weak and must be enhanced to meet requirements of highly demanding importers.
In addition, Viet Nam's tuna exports to the EU will encounter obstacles this year, as its rivals, including Ecuador and the Philippines, have signed a trade agreement that entails a zero tax rate on tuna exports sent from these countries to the EU.
As negotiations for the Viet Nam–EU Free Trade Agreement are nearing conclusion, experts have urged Vietnamese tuna exporters to remain well prepared to grasp any opportunity for expanding exports. — VNS