US remains largest buyer of Vietnam’s tra fish

Vietnam’s tra fish exports to the United States in the first two months of the year totaled US$18.1 million, making the United States the largest buyer of Vietnamese tra fish, with exports expected to rise as US consumers seek to stock up on food during the coronavirus scare.

us remains largest buyer of vietnam’s tra fish hinh 0
Tra fish is processed for export. VASEP forecast that tra fish exports to the United States may rise in the coming months - PHOTO: VNA
China's imports of tra fish from Vietnam have plunged 50% due to COVID-19.

The country recorded sharp declines in tra fish exports to most overseas markets during the January-February period, especially for the Chinese market as COVID-19 has disrupted goods trading and logistics activities between Vietnam and China, accorditonng to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

Despite the impact of the disease on trading activities, the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Processors (VASEP) forecast that tra fish exports to the United States may rise in the coming months.

VASEP reasoned that the consumption of aquatic products, including tra fish, has increased steeply in the United States partly because people there are stocking up on food to cope with the outbreak of the new coronavirus, which has been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Further, the United States’ import volume of tra fish tumbled in 2019 and thus its inventories ran out, urging tra fish buyers to ramp up purchases of the fish this year.

According to VASEP, last year, Vietnamese tra fish did not benefit from the US-China trade war as expected, even though the United States’ imports of China’s tilapia, whose competitiveness is equivalent to tra fish, fell significantly.

The United States imposed antidumping tax on tra fish, and its final decision approving the quality compatibility of Vietnamese tra fish was made later than expected, stated VASEP.

Specifically, Vietnam’s export value for tra fish to the United States maintained a downward trend for 11 consecutive months in 2019 compared with exports in 2018.

Later, the US Department of Agriculture officially approved the compatibility of Vietnamese tra fish standards with its own late last year. This allowed Vietnamese tra fish to be shipped to more overseas markets.

Moreover, the European Parliament in February ratified the European Union-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement. The move is expected to open up more opportunities for local exporters to boost their tra fish shipments to the European Union when import tariffs on tra fish are dropped to 0% in the next three years.

Although bright prospects were anticipated for the country’s tra fish exports, experts still advised tra fish farmers to actively lower production to bring this year’s figure to 1.2 million tons, down 10% year-on-year.

Saigon Times

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