Vietnam: Seafood sector sees more export opportunities

The Hanoitimes – Vietnamese fishery exporters are expected to increase shipments to Russia this year after a Russian working group made a fact-finding tour of some Vietnamese exporters recently.
According to Duong Hoang Minh, Vietnam’s trade counselor in Russia, Vietnam’s trade office in Russia had earlier held a working session with local agencies on increasing Vietnamese seafood exports to the market. 
The move was made after Vietnam was given a “yellow card” warning by the European Commission in September 2017 for failing to progress in fighting illegal fishing, which could lead to a drop in aquatic exports to the EU and other markets. 
Minh said that Vietnam’s seafood exports to Russia faced difficulties as the market, together with the Eurasian Economic Union, of which it is a member, limited aquatic product imports and only allowed 21 Vietnamese companies to ship products to Russia. Meanwhile, Vietnam has more than 500 seafood firms qualified to export to the European Union and other fastidious markets.
Thus, Minh said, Vietnam’s Trade Office in Russia, in conjunction with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, worked with Russian authorities to change their opinion and allow more Vietnamese seafood products to be exported to the market.
Nguyen Xuan Cuong, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, said that the fishery sector has the potential to further grow this year, which will help create a new mark and surpass the target of US$8.5 billion set for 2018. The sector has good foundations in terms of infrastructure, production methods, and organization and will likely surpass the target.
“This year we will encounter many challenges, but will also have opportunities,” Cuong said.
According to him, the challenges include getting a “yellow card” for illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing by the European Commission and restructuring production and exploitation in a sustainable manner.
However, he said, Vietnam is in the process of implementing a new fisheries law and action programs to lift the warning on Vietnamese seafood products.
Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP) earlier this year also introduced the Whitebook on IUU in Vietnam. This publication provides an overview of the Vietnamese fisheries sector, the current regulations and practices, the impact of the “yellow card” given by the EU, and the Government of Vietnam’s long-term action plan to combat IUU exploitation, including recommendations for stakeholders in the Vietnamese seafood value chain.
According to the Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Vu Van Tam, the book is an active communication program by VASEP, not only for fishermen, but also all seafood industry stakeholders. He said he hoped there will be improvements in general perceptions and behavior towards unified undertakings in the IUU Action Program.
Besides, Tam said he wished that the European Commission would trust and acknowledge Vietnam’s efforts and soon withdraw the yellow cards placed on Vietnamese fisheries.
According to Nguyen Thi Thu Sac, VASEP’s Vice Chairwoman and Chief Executive Officer of the IUU Steering Committee, the book, consisting of five chapters in Vietnamese and English, is a collection of basic information on IUU fishing.
Besides traditional markets like the United States and the European Union, Vietnamese seafood exporters must also pay heed to enlarge other potential outlets such as Australia, Japan, and the Republic of Korea, Cuong noted.
“The Indian, Chinese, and the ASEAN markets are also very promising, but we have not exploited them much. This year we must focus on ways to better exploit these markets.”
He also required the fisheries sector to enhance investment to improve quality and packages to enable bringing more added value and raise the prestige of Vietnamese trademarks in the global market.
Vietnam’s fisheries industry earned US$8 billion from exports last year. The United States, Japan, China, and the Republic of Korea were the top markets for Vietnamese seafood products, accounting for more than 55 per cent of shipments.
Source: http://www.hanoitimes.vn/economy/2018/02/81E0C1B1/seafood-sector-sees-more-export-opportunities/