Vietnam sets ambitious USD 9.5 billion seafood export target for 2024

Farmed pangasius in Vietnam.

Vietnam has high expectations for growing its global seafood exports in 2024, despite huge potential obstacles.

The Southeast Asian country expects to earn USD 9.5 billion (EUR 8.7 billion) from seafood exports in 2024, including USD 4 billion (EUR 3.7 billion) from shrimp exports, USD 1.9 billion (EUR 1.7 billion) from pangasius sales, and USD 3.6 billion (EUR 3.3 billion) from other seafood products.

According to the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP), the 2024 target is above the country's total seafood export value in 2023. The organization said the target was set with the expectation there will be surge in global demand during the latter half of 2024.

Despite these aspirations, achieving this higher target will require Vietnamese seafood exporters to hurdle numerous challenges, according to VASEP.

Globally, inflation has eased, but geopolitical disruptions, such as the Russia-Ukraine war, conflicts in the Middle East, and attacks on transportation vessels in the Red Sea, are impacting international trade, with a knock-on effect for the seafood industry. These have led to escalated transportation costs, as well as elevated prices for aquaculture and seafood-processing equipment. VASEP warned these factors may contribute to a potential new wave of inflation, possibly influencing seafood supply and demand in 2024.

Additionally, a glut in global shrimp supply is likely to continue through at least the first half of 2024, driving down prices and, therefore, export value.

After achieving record seafood export growth in 2022, Vietnam encountered numerous challenges in 2023 due to elevated inflation and diminished demand in key global markets.

In 2023, the country exported seafood worth USD 8.97 billion (EUR 8.24 billion) – down 17.8 percent from 2022 – which undershot its previously established target for the year of USD 10 billion (EUR 9.2 billion). Its seafood products were mainly sent to the U.S., which bought USD 1.56 billion (EUR 1.43 billion) worth of Vietnamese seafood – a decline of 26.9 percent. Japan bought USD 1.52 billion (EUR 1.4 billion), 11.2 percent lower year over year; China purchased USD 1.34 billion (EUR 1.23 billion), down 14.9 percent; South Korea bought USD 790.8 million (EUR 727 million), dropping 16.7 percent; and Australia purchased USD 313.9 million (EUR 288.6 million), which was down 13.8 percent, Vietnamese customs data showed.

One factor making analysts more bullish about Vietnamese seafood exports in 2024 is that shrimp demand in the U.S. market is gradually rebounding. But Vietnamese shrimp exporters are also expecting heightened barriers to entering the U.S. market due to an ongoing investigation by the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) and the likely implementation of antidumping duties, a move backed by the U.S. shrimp industry.

On 15 January, Vietnamese shrimp exporter Fimex (Sao Ta) expressed readiness to reorganize its market strategy in the event of the U.S. imposing countervailing duties on shrimp products from Vietnam. The company plans to shift its focus to  ... 

Photo courtesy of Son Truong/Shutterstock

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