Pangasius exports increased by 83.2% in the first half of this year, the highest growth rate among fishery products, the latest data by the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP) showed.
Seafood exports were expected to rake in nearly US$5.8 billion for Vietnam in the first six months, up almost 40% year-on-year.
Most seafood products witnessed high export growth rates in the first half, of which tra (pangasius) fish led the group with an estimated value of US$1.43 billion, up 83.2%, accounting for one-fourth of total seafood export value.
Tuna and crustaceans followed with export value at US$553.5 million and US$110 million, or increases of US$55.7 and US$54.5 year on year, respectively.
Shrimp export, the biggest seafood product export, which brought in US$2.3 billion, grew 33% during the period.
Export to UK soars
Pangasius exports to the UK increased six-fold in the first half of this year, VASEP reported,
According to VASEP, the sudden decline in the amount of white fish in the UK due to increased import taxes on Russian exports during the Russia-Ukraine conflict has pushed up the price of seafood. UK importers are struggling to find alternative products, which is a good opportunity for Vietnamese pangasius exporters to boost their market share.
The opportunity became bigger after the UK-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (UKVFTA), which officially came into force on May 1, 2021, slashes the UK's import tax to zero%.
In addition, after Brexit, due to the fishing complex between the UK and the EU, the UK has been increasing its direct import from producing countries, including Vietnam.
Vietnam exported various white fish products to the UK, ranging from frozen pangasius fillet, frozen pangasius strip cut, frozen pre-fried breaded pangasius, and frozen pangasius portion cut braised pangasius and frozen pangasius skewers among others.
In May, six more Vietnamese pangasius processing factories were granted access to the US market, which is also the premise for the growth of this product in the UK and other needs.
Vietnam accounts for 90-94% of the pangasius market share in the world. Information from domestic seafood exporters has shown currently, pangasius processing factories are running at total capacity to serve export orders.
However, to effectively exploit the UKVFTA to increase export to the UK, VASEP recommends that exporters and farmers strictly comply with regulations on traceability and control seafood quarantine, ensuring food safety throughout the preservation and processing chain.