According to the General Department of Vietnam Customs, seafood export turnover reached US $ 2.089 billion from January to middle of April. Thus, seafood is the second item of agriculture which has achieved export value of over US $ 2 billion this year after the wood and wood products.
Seafood export value from the beginning of the year till April has increased 15.93% in comparison with the same period last year. This growth rate is lower than the rate of 18% in 2017. Meanwhile, the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP) has estimated seafood exports target US $ 10 billion this year, up 20.2% compared to 2017.
Truong Dinh Hoe, General Secretary of VASEP had stated that there are many advantages in term of market for seafood this year. First of all, the world economy is forecasted to recover strongly, especially in Vietnamese seafood’s key export markets such as the US, EU, Japan and China. However, in other potential markets, such as the Middle East and Russia, it will be more favorable as a result of rising oil prices. Mexican and other North American economies were also boosted by the abolition of the NAFTA. Therefore, the fisheries industry forecasts that demand will continue to increase in key markets.
The free trade agreement between Vietnam and other countries is one of the very important contributing factors to promote seafood exports this year. According to VASEP, the Vietnam-EU Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) approved in June will be the opportunity and motivation for Vietnamese enterprises to boost seafood export to this important market. Especially, shrimp products are entitled to special tax incentives.
Currently, the main import items to European Union (EU) markets were frozen shrimp and processed shrimp from Vietnam. As soon as EVFTA is effective, export tax on raw shrimp (HS code 03061100) will be decreased from 12.5% to 0%, shrimp tax code HS 03061710 will be decreased from 20% to 0% respectively. On the other hand, Shrimp exporters in India are shifting from the EU to the US due to the 50% antibiotic testing by the EU. It is one of the good opportunities for Vietnam to export shrimps to the EU markets. Moreover, Thai shrimp competitor has a very limited supplies due to lack of raw shrimp material imported from India.
The Vietnam-Korea Free Trade Agreement (VKFTA) was effective as of last year and has positive impacts on Vietnam seafood export. According to this FTA, shrimp imports from Vietnam are enjoying the lowest tax rate of 10% (equivalent to the tax of Thai shrimp) in the Korean market, while other important supplies are subjects to higher taxes such as India 12.5%, China and Ecuador 20%. Currently, fresh/frozen octopus is exporting to Korea with tax of 0% under the VKFTA, while that from China is 20%. It is noticed that China is the largest source of fresh / frozen octopus for South Korea.
The value added items (VAI) is also an important point for increasing the seafood exports value this year. During the past 5 years, white leg shrimp exports used to get double digit growth rate. The value export of white leg shrimp was 2.5 billion USD in 2017, 3 times higher than that of black tiger shrimp. In particular, VAI from white leg shrimp accounted for up to 50% of total white leg shrimp export value. Therefore, in order to achieve the US $ 10 billion export targets in the fishery sector in 2018 as well as increase seafood export value in the coming years, it is necessary to orient the production and export towards commodities and VAI production.
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