Vietnamese fish sauce sales in Europe doing swimmingly

10:14 | 08/03/2017 Trade

(VEN) - Phu Quoc fish sauce is the first made-in-Vietnam and ASEAN product to win EU recognition and protection of geographical indication. Four years since being licensed, the volume of Phu Quoc fish sauce exports to Europe has grown 10-12 percent.  

The traditional occupation of making fish sauce began to develop in the Phu Quoc District of the southern province of Kien Giang more than 200 years ago. Phu Quoc fish sauce is made of anchovies caught in the waters around Phu Quoc Island. The anchovies are salted and kept in wooden barrels for 12 months. Each barrel containing 12-13 tonnes of fish will yield about 3,000 liters of fish sauce.

The protein level in Phu Quoc fish sauce is particularly high, at 43 to 45 percent. The sauce is clear, with a dark puce color, and has gained popularity in Vietnam. In 2012, Vietnam began to export the Phu Quoc condiment to Europe, after the EU announced its protection of the geographical indication of these products.

Nguyen Thi Tinh, President of the Phu Quoc Fish Sauce Association, said the fish sauce is exported to the EU by four companies and sold not only to overseas Vietnamese and Asians, but also to European consumers.

However, some manufacturers from areas beyond Phu Quoc and businesses from Thailand and Hong Kong (China) also sell fish sauce under the Phu Quoc brand to the EU. To prevent this, the National Office of Intellectual Property of Vietnam has issued exclusive certification of the Phu Quoc fish sauce geographical indication. Currently, only about 70 fish sauce manufacturers in Phu Quoc, who meet specific standards set by the Phu Quoc Fish Sauce Association, are allowed to sell their products under this label.

According to Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade, Ho Thi Kim Thoa, Phu Quoc fish sauce is the first product of Vietnam and ASEAN to win EU recognition and protection of geographical indication. Therefore, quality management officials, local authorities and the Phu Quoc Fish Sauce Association need to take actions to ensure the quality of these products as registered in Vietnam and the EU.

The Ministry of Industry and Trade will request overseas Vietnamese trade offices to participate in promoting and protecting the Phu Quoc fish sauce brand. For their part, businesses need to intensify marketing and advertising while at the same time joining distribution networks in large, demanding markets such as the EU. These efforts will help Vietnamese goods compete successfully with foreign products and position themselves firmly in global distribution channels.

Bao Ngoc