Vietnam cashing in with tuna exports in 2017

Tuna exported from Vietnam is expected to earn USD 524 million (EUR 488 million) in 2017, a rise of eight percent compared with 2016, according to the Vietnam Association of Seafood Producers and Exporters (VASEP), as reported by Vietnam News.

VASEP General Secretary Trương Đình Hòe said that after falling for three years, the value of the country’s tuna exports last year increased by nine percent to USD 500 million (EUR 466 million). Frozen tuna loins and canned tuna accounted for 47 percent and 30 percent of sales, respectively.

The U.S.A., E.U., ASEAN countries, Israel, China and Japan were the largest buyers.

Shipments to the U.S. were worth USD 200 million (EUR 186 million), a year-on-year increase of 4.5 percent, making Vietnam the second biggest exporter to that market.

If Vietnamese firms maintain quality and supply over the next few years, Vietnam is on track to surpass Indonesia to become the largest tuna exporter to the U.S., Hòe said.

The value of Vietnamese tuna exports to the E.U., the second-biggest buyer, reached USD 110 million (EUR 102 million) last year, an increase of 11.5 percent over 2015.

Frozen tuna loins were the primary product in value (accounting for 36 percent of export value), followed by canned tuna (31 percent) and frozen whole tuna (20 percent).

Italy, German and Belgium were the three main markets for Vietnamese tuna reaching the E.U., accounting for 57 percent of the exports to that region.

Italy is one of the largest markets for tuna in the world, according to Hòe, and Vietnamese firms exported mainly frozen yellowfin tuna there and had a 28 percent market share, he said.

Vietnamese tuna exports to the E.U. are expected to increase further, especially once the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement comes into force and tuna from Vietnam attracts lower tariffs than that of its rivals, Hòe said.

Exports of tuna from Vietnam to China increased by 69.2 percent last year, but exports to Japan went down by 6.9 percent.
Japan’s tuna imports have been falling for some years as young Japanese people increasingly prefer meat, thereby reducing consumption of tuna sashimi and sushi, Hòe said.

Last year, Japanese fresh and frozen tuna imports decreased by three percent, according to FAO, and in the long term this trend is expected to continue.

The depreciation in the value of the yen also affected Vietnam’s tuna exports to Japan, he added.

Vietnam has a very small share (0.5 percent) of the Japanese fresh/frozen tuna market, according to VASEP.

Hòe said that Vietnamese tuna exporters would increase their overseas sales of frozen tuna loins, thus taking full advantage of the domestic supply of fish as well as imports for further processing.


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