10:28 | 21/04/2016 Trade
(VEN) - While shrimp and tra fish faced certain difficulties in terms of exports, tuna was a bright spot in the seafood export picture of the early months of this year.
Vietnam exported nearly US$36.9 million worth of tuna in January
According to the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP), Vietnam exported nearly US$36.9 million worth of tuna in January, a 11 percent rise compared with the same period in 2015. In the first month of this year, tuna catches in Phu Yen, Binh Dinh and Khanh Hoa provinces totaled an estimated 1,445 tonnes, up nine percent compared with January 2015. Tuna exports have shown positive changes.
Customs statistics show that tuna fillet and loin exports grew 68 percent in January compared with the same time in 2015, reaching over US$18 million, of which exports to the US accounted for nearly US$12.9 million, up 57 percent. VASEP said the US was a major importer of Vietnamese canned tuna.
The value of tuna exports to the EU decreased by about 24 percent in January. However, tuna imports by some EU members grew at very high rates, for example Italy up 62 percent, and the Netherlands 221 percent.
VASEP forecast that Vietnam would experience continued good signs in terms of tuna exports in 2016, especially to Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) member countries. In fact, Vietnamese tuna exports fell in 2015, but exports to 11 TPP member countries grew 12 percent compared with 2014. Exports to these countries accounted for nearly 53 percent of the total value of Vietnamese tuna exports. The US, Japan, and Mexico are major importers of Vietnamese tuna. “The TPP is expected to create a leap in Vietnamese exports, especially tuna exports,” VASEP said.
The US will eliminate tariffs for Vietnamese tuna exports at some point as part of its TPP commitments. Japan will apply a zero-percent tax rate to Vietnamese canned tuna, skipjack tuna, fresh and frozen yellow-fin tuna exports as soon as the TPP takes effect, while tax rates applied to fresh and frozen big-eye tuna, and fresh albacore tuna exports to this market will be gradually reduced to zero percent in the 11th year; frozen albacore tuna exports will become tax-free in the sixth year. These tariff preferences will help Vietnam boost tuna exports in the time to come.
Moreover, decreases in import taxes will facilitate the import of materials for domestic processing. In 2015, Vietnam spent nearly US$214.9 million on tuna imports, an increase of 16.8 percent compared with 2014. Statistics from the General Department of Vietnam Customs show that Vietnam imported tuna from 36 countries, mostly from the Republic of Korea, China, Hong Kong (China), and the EU.
Economists said the cost of labor at Vietnamese tuna processing plants equaled to just one eighth of that in other countries. Therefore, efforts to expand the market and increase catches and material imports will help Vietnam promote tuna processing for export, creating competitive advantages for Vietnamese canned tuna.