Seafood exports may hit the landmark of USD 9 billion

Seafood exports have grown positive in the first half of this year and forecasted to continue to recover in the last six months of this year.

Seafood export has recovered

According to the Agency of Foreign Trade (Ministry of Industry and Trade), in the first five years of 2021, seafood export coped with several huge challenges ignited by the Covid-19 pandemic, however, it still achieved positive results. From January to May in general, seafood export in Vietnam reached USD 3.27 billion, up 13.3% year on year.

As stated by VASEP, seafood export over the past six months has increased impressively with the growth rate hitting USD865 million, up 20% against the same period last year. Therefore, seafood export in Jan-June was estimated to reach USD 4.1 billion.

The most important point is not only the surge of seafood export in the first half against the same period last year but also how it recovered to the point before the pandemic. The evidence is that the value of seafood exports in May not only increased interannual but also increased by 4.7% compared to that of May 2019. Seafood exports in the first five months of this year not only increased year over year but also increased by 3.1% compared to the first five months of 2019.

The recovery was first due to the market opportunities created by the stable domestic seafood supply sources while other large export countries are staggered by Covid-19. Dr. Ho Quoc Luc, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Fimexvn, said that India and Indonesia are the major shrimp farming countries heavily affected by the Covid-19 epidemic, which cannot be healed in a short time, causing a shortage of supply. This is an opportunity for Vietnam’s shrimp industry to boost exports and may reach USD 4 billion this year.

The reemergence of key markets including the US, EU among others is contributing to the recovery of Vietnam’s seafood export.

The Agency of Foreign Trade said that in the first five months of 2021, thanks to the rapid vaccination campaign in addition to the economic stimulus package of the US government, the demand for seafood consumption in some channels namely services, restaurants, hotels, and entertainment among others has recovered. In particular, shrimp products are always included in the leading seafood product consumed in the US.

On the other hand, Vietnam is grabbing a huge opportunity to increase its market share in the US market when the Indian seafood industry is affected by the Covid-19 outbreak and China’s seafood exports to the US are still affected by the trade tension between the two countries and due to China’s own regulations to control the Covid-19 epidemic.

Seafood exports to the EU market in the first five months of 2021 also increased sharply when demand in this market recovered and Vietnamese seafood enjoyed favorable conditions with tariff incentives from the EVFTA. Although the EU’s economy recovers more slowly than the US, the demand for seafood in this region is recovering when the Covid-19 epidemic is gradually controlled, countries in the region are gradually opening up outdoor food and beverage services and tourism.

In addition, Vietnam’s seafood exports to markets with FTAs continued to increase sharply, of which exports to Australia, Canada, and Russia all increased sharply compared to the same period in 2020.

May hitting USD 9 billion

Commenting on the market opportunities in the last half of 2021, the Agency of Foreign Trade said that, Vietnam seafood export is forecasted to continue to recovering while businesses are adapting well to the fluctuation of the market under the impacts of Covid-19.

The increased demand from major markets when the economy recovers from the pandemic and the incentives from free trade agreements that have taken effect are also pushing for the growth of the seafood industry.

Le Hang, Deputy Director of VASEP.PRO, said that, in general, except for the Chinese market’s strict control of imports related to Covid-19 testing, affecting seafood export sales, the export results to key markets and other markets in the first half of this year show a positive result, forecasting that an export target of USD 8.8-9 billion by the end of 2021 is feasible.

The agency suggested businesses monitor market developments, especially the recovery of supply capacity from other supply markets such as India, Ecuador, Thailand, Indonesia… post-pandemic to be proactive in production and business activities.

Besides the instability in the global shipping industry since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic will continue to bring about difficulties for the seafood industry. Strong demand for shipping, delays at ports, and a lack of equipment are continuing to push container prices to new record highs. From the very start of the pandemic, most people assumed that costs would only increase for a quarter or two, but now, it is predicted to keep going up until 2022.

By Sao Mai Phạm Thị

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