Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI – The EU has replaced Japan as Việt Nam’s largest shrimp importer, according to the General Department of Vietnam Customs (GDVC) and the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP).
According to VASEP, in the first eight months of 2017, shrimp exports to the EU reached US$483.6 million, up 30 per cent year on year.
In particular, shrimp exports to the three biggest import markets in the EU, the UK, the Netherlands and Belgium, experienced impressive double-digit growth at 46.5 per cent, 47.8 per cent and 34.1 per cent respectively.
Vietnamese shrimp exported to the EU market mainly compete with Indian and Ecuadorian shrimp. In recent years, however, India has reduced shrimp exports to the EU, leaving Ecuador and Việt Nam in a race to boost their market share.
A free trade agreement between Ecuador and the EU, which came into effect in 1977, allows the former to enjoy zero per cent tariffs on exports, compared to the previous 3.6 per cent. Meanwhile, a 4.2 per cent tariff applies for Vietnamese shrimp. Ecuador thus enjoys a competitive edge over other suppliers.
The national seafood association has noted that in the near future, Vietnamese enterprises need to take advantage of preferential tax rates and rules of origin arising from the Vietnam-EU Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA), which is expected to come into effect in 2018.
Additionally, domestic businesses should ensure strict compliance with all EU sanitary, phytosanitary and other technical requirements, including those relating to packaging and labelling, it said.
The association said that the recent surge in shrimp exports to the EU is not only due to consumers’ favouring processed seafood as well as a general uptick in imports as demand increases during year end festivities, but also a general increase in the quality of the former shrimp products.
In order to exploit opportunities and potential benefits presented by the EVFTA, Vietnamese shrimp exporters should actively improve their production capacity, product quality and develop appropriate business plans to deal with the market’s demands, it said.
EU consumers have shown increasing preference for sustainably produced seafood, another factor that Vietnamese businesses should pay attention.
The EU currently accounts for over 30 per cent of the world’s total shrimp imports, buying $6 to $8 billion worth of the crustaceans a year. – VNS