Diversify and overcome the decline in tuna exports from the EU market

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Processing tuna for export. Photo: T.H
Processing tuna for export. Photo: T.H

Tuna exports to the EU dropped continuously in the second quarter

According to statistics from Vietnam Customs, Vietnam's tuna exports to the EU decreased continuously in the second quarter of 2022. However, thanks to good growth in the first three quarters of the year; the value of tuna exports accumulated in the first six months of 2022 to this market segment still increased by 4% compared to the same period in 2021, reaching more than US$77 million.

Analysis by Ms. Nguyen Ha, tuna market expert of the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP), shows that, among Vietnam's tuna products exported to the EU, exports of Vietnam's frozen tuna loin and meat products, code HS0304, increased, however, the growth rate tended to slow down.

Along with this product group, canned tuna exports also increased slightly over the same period. Meanwhile, exports of fresh and frozen tuna with HS03 code (except HS0304) and other processed tuna with HS16 code continued to decrease.

Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands are the top three EU countries in terms of tuna imports from Vietnam in the first six months of this year. While Vietnam's tuna exports to Belgium and the Netherlands continued to maintain a positive growth rate in the past three months, exports to Germany decreased. This has caused the value of tuna exports to the German market in the first half of this year to decrease by 1.8% compared to the same period in 2021.

The reopening of EU countries to tourists also increases the demand for high-value fresh and frozen tuna imports. At the same time, the increased import demand for large canned tuna products for food service chains, restaurants, etc. has helped restore tuna imports in the first six months of this year.

However, the euro is currently falling to a 20-year low. Countries are concerned about the possibility that Russia could cut off natural gas supplies to Europe and plunge the region into recession at any moment. This will affect the entire economy, including the fishing and tuna processing industry of EU countries, creating opportunities for Vietnamese tuna exporters.

The price of tuna products increases due to the higher cost of necessary goods; a strong dollar may cause the final tuna products to be imported into the EU from countries outside the bloc such as Vietnam, the Philippines, and Ecuador to become more expensive. This has affected Vietnam's tuna exports to EU countries in the past three months.

In addition, according to tuna exporters, the first months of the year are usually a favorable time to increase export orders to EU markets due to the impact of agreements on preferential tariffs under the trade agreement between Vietnam and the EU (EVFTA).

However, this year, due to the high price of gasoline, it affected the tuna catch of the whole country, causing a decrease in the supply of raw tuna to ensure the rules of origin under the FTA. In addition, the issuance of certificates of origin of Vietnamese goods according to the form of the EVFTA has many shortcomings, causing many export shipments to this market to be delayed.

All of the above factors affect and restrain the growth of Vietnam's tuna exports to the EU market. It is expected that tuna exports to the EU will continue to decelerate in the next months.

Export redirection

To compensate for the EU market, Vietnamese tuna exporters have changed direction and increased exports to other countries. Tuna exports to the main markets are mostly growing well.

In particular, with the CPTPP market, tuna exports to Canada, Japan and Mexico continued to grow positively. By the end of June 2022, CPTPP is the third largest export market of Vietnamese tuna exporters (after the US and EU). Import demand for tuna from countries participating in this agreement reached US$68 million, up 50% over the same period last year, of which exports to Canada increased by 68%, to Japan by 26% and to Mexico by 30%.

Besides, the French market is also a focus for businesses. In the first six months of 2022, tuna exports to this market reached nearly US$3 million, up 203% over the same period in 2021. In which, the largest increase was in the group of processed and canned tuna products. Frozen tuna meat and loins with code HS0304 are still the main export products to this market, accounting for 63% of the total export value.

According to VASEP, Vietnam is currently the 14th largest tuna supplier to the French market among non-EU suppliers.

In addition to the above major export markets, in the first six months of 2022, tuna exports to Saudi Arabia, Thailand, the Philippines and Russia still grew well. Total export value to Saudi Arabia reached US$1.2 million, to Thailand increased by 59%; the Philippines up 86%.

In the first six months of 2022, tuna export turnover reached US$553 million, up 56%. It is expected that tuna export turnover in 2022 will reach about US$1.1 billion, up 45% compared to 2021.

By Le Thu/Bui Diep

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