HCM CITY — The seafood sector will strive to exceed this year’s export target of US$8.5 billion set by the Government, the head of the industry’s main business group has said.
Ngô Văn Ích, chairman of the Việt Nam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP), said besides surpassing the target this year, the sector was also on track to achieve exports of $10 billion by 2020.
Speaking at a ceremony in HCM City yesterday, he said exports had reached a record $8.3 billion last year.
The ceremony was organised by VASEP and the Saigon Newport Corporation to mark the shipment of the year’s first consignment of seafood at Cát Lái-Tân Cảng Port.
The consignment consisted of 20 tonnes of frozen shrimps sent to Canada, 20 tonnes of mahi-mahi to the US and 22 tonnes of frozen tra fish fillet to the European Union worth a total of more than $590,000.
Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyễn Xuân Cường hailed the efforts made by the seafood sector.
“This year we will encounter many challenges, but will also have opportunities.”
The challenges include getting a "yellow card" sticker on illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing by the European Commission and restructuring production and exploitation in a sustainable manner.
“We are in the process of implementing a new fisheries law and action programmes to lift the warning on Vietnamese seafood about IUU fishing.”
Cường said the sector had a good foundation in terms of infrastructure, production methods and organisation and was likely to surpass the target set by the ministry of $8.5 billion, he said.
In addition to traditional markets such as the United States and the European Union that Vietnamese exporters have exploited well, he said the sector needed to penetrate promising markets such as Australia, Japan and South Korea.
“Indian, Chinese and ASEAN markets are also very good markets, but we have not exploited them much. This year we must focus on ways to better exploit these markets.”
Trương Đình Hòe, VASEP general secretary, said the US, Japan, China and South Korea were the top four markets for Vietnamese seafood products, accounting for more than 55 per cent of shipments.
The strong growth markets last year were China (up 64.4 per cent), the Netherlands (up 48.6 per cent), Britain (up 36.4 per cent), South Korea (up 29.1 per cent), Canada (up 22.3 per cent) and Japan (up 20 per cent).
VASEP said shrimps accounted for $3.8 billion of the exports last year.
Tra fish exports were worth nearly $1.8 billion, a year-on-year increase of 4 per cent despite difficulties in many export markets, it said. — VNS