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Two reasons leading to slow exports of seafood to the EU in the second half of the year

09:09 | 31/07/2021

VCN - Seafood exports to the EU in the first half of 2021 have a high growth rate of 20%. However, there are two reasons that are forecast to cause difficulties for seafood exports to the EU.

Covid-19 has caused some seafood businesses to have to suspend operations (Photo: CADOVIMEX II)
Covid-19 has caused some seafood businesses to have to suspend operations (Photo: CADOVIMEX II)

According to General Department of Vietnam Customs (GDVC), in the first six months of 2021, Vietnam's seafood exports to the EU increased by 20% to more than $486 million, of which, exports of seafood products increased by 24% to $154 million (accounting for 32%), while aquaculture increased by 18% to $333 million (accounting for 68%).

Among seafood exported to the EU, shrimp accounted for the highest proportion with 52.5% of the total seafood turnover to the EU with $256 million, increasing by 27% from the same period last year. Whiteleg shrimp made up more than $205 million, up 31%, black tiger shrimp $36.5 million, up 15%, the rest are other shrimps and lobster.

According to Le Hang, Deputy Director of VASEP.PRO Center, while the EU market is recovering in demand, exports of aquatic products to these countries have increased, while shutchi catfish exports are still down 18% compared to the same period reached nearly $58 million, accounting for less than 12% of seafood exports to the EU. Exports of crabs, sentinel crabs and other crustaceans to the EU halved to less than US$2.5 million, mainly are crab exports which slightly decrease by 44%.

Exports of squid, octopus, clams, tuna and other marine fish to the EU market in the first half of the year brought much better turnover compared to last year. Squid increased by 56% to nearly $21 million, octopus increased by 33% to $5.5 million. Clam exports to the EU increased sharply by 45%, reaching $33 million.

Tuna contributed second largest export value to the EU with more than $74 million, up 31%, accounting for some 15%. Meanwhile, exports of other marine fish to the EU only accounted for 7% with about $33 million, up 21%. In which, it is mainly cod with nearly $5 million as processed products from imported materials.

Other marine fish products, including surimi, doubled to $4 million. The limited source of marine fish, along with regulations on certification and verification of raw materials under IUU regulations of the EU, make it tougher for marine fish to be exported to the EU.

In the group of raw materials from fish, besides shutchi catfish, Vietnamese enterprises also increased exports of other freshwater fish such as catfish and tilapia with a value of about $4 million, an increase of more than 60% over the same period last year.

The EU is currently the fourth largest seafood export market of Vietnam, after the US, Japan and China, accounting for more than 11%. In which, the dominant markets in the EU are the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, and Italy.

The EU accounts for some 14% of Vietnam's shrimp exports, ranking third after the US and Japan. For tuna, the EU accounts for 21%, behind the US. The EU only makes up 7.4% of Vietnam's total shutchi catfish exports. With only clam exports, the EU occupies a "dominant" position with over 70% of Vietnam's exports.

According to Le Hang, the EU countries' economies are recovering thanks to positive changes after the Covid-19 vaccination programme and support packages. The demand for seafood imports from the EU market started to increase sharply from March and is expected to continue to prosper in the second half of the year. Vietnam can seize this opportunity to boost exports to the EU if it can quickly control the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.

However, with the current complex situation of the Covid -19 pandemic, some seafood enterprises had to temporarily suspend operations due to cases of infection, along with the IUU yellow card issue, and seafood exports to the EU in the second half of the year could not maintain the growth as in the first half of the year.

According to the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers, seafood exports to the EU in the second half of the year will reach about $600 million, up 8% from the same period, bringing the export result for the whole year 2021 to $1,087 billion, up 13% compared to 2020.

By Lê Thu/Thanh Thuy