No need to clam up about Vietnam’s bivalve exports to EU

06:00 | 17/05/2022 Trade

(VEN) - Vietnamese clam exports to the European Union are rising sharply, driven by growing demand and stable domestic production. The EU is now Vietnam’s largest clam export market.

Strong impression at Seafood Expo

Vietnam’s clam products recently drew international attention at the 2022 Global Seafood Expo from April 26 to 28 in Barcelona (Spain), the center of the EU’s fisheries industry.

The boldly designed pavilion showcasing Vietnamese clams drew some 100 importers from Spain, Italy, France, the United States, Portugal, the UK, Turkey, the Netherlands, the United Arab Emirates, the Republic of Korea, Egypt, Israel, the Czech Republic, and Denmark.

Clam products are introduced to buyers at the 2022 Global Seafood Expo

On display were clam meat, steamed white/brown clams, processed products steamed clams with garlic and butter, and clams cooked with tom-yum sauce.

Three of Vietnam's leading seafood companies, Go Dang Joint Stock Company (GODACO), Ben Tre Seafood Joint Stock Company (BESEACO), and Ben Tre Aquaproduct Import-Export Joint Stock Company (AQUATEX), were selected to participate in the exhibition due to their deep involvement in a project promoting “Inclusive and Sustainable Clam and Bamboo Value Chain Development”.

The exposure to the three firms’ products was particularly important given that some European consumers said they had been purchasing Vietnamese clams through intermediaries for the past 20 years and had not known they could buy directly from the exporters.

A number of commercial agreements were reached during the show, a welcome signal for the Vietnamese clam export market following protracted difficulties due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Processing clams for export

Vietnamese clams’ advantages

Shellfish exports to the EU market have increased 37 percent this past year, reaching US$87 million. Clams have become the fourth largest seafood species in terms of export value to the EU, with exports to the three largest markets Spain, Italy and Portugal, all growing 38-44 percent.

Clams in the coastal areas of three Vietnamese provinces Ben Tre, Tra Vinh, and Tien Giang, have a significant competitive edge in terms of reputation and quality. Clam meat produced in these provinces is widely praised for its flavor, nutrition, white and thick flesh, and is a popular commodity in a number of important international markets.

Ben Tre clams, in particular, have been granted Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification. According to a representative of Oxfam in Vietnam, valid MSC is a passport to ensure the development of safe seafood and is a protective trademark for local seafood products.

Europe is now the major export market for Vietnamese clams, accounting for more than 70 percent of total shipments, followed by the United States, Singapore, and Japan.

According to the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers, increasing market demand, stable clam production and especially tax incentives offered by the European-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement are supportive factors for Vietnam’s bivalve mollusk exports to the EU.

Nguyen Hanh