On May 31, the Chinese Ministry of Finance announced an import tax reduction for 221 aquatic products from member states of the World Trade Organisation (WTO). Tariffs on tra fish fillets and fresh and frozen tra fish were cut from 10% to 7%, and from 12% to 7%, respectively from July 1.
The move will help lift tra fish exports through official channels instead of cross-border trade, which will exempt goods from a 17% value added tax and import tax.
Additionally, the US-China trade war also gives Vietnamese firms a chance to boost tra fish exports to the two markets.
Secretary General of the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP) Truong Dinh Hoe said tra fish could be used for hundreds of recipes so the domestic tra fish sector could increase export of added-value products into China.
VASEP statistics showed that tra fish shipments to China have surged by 21-35% annually in the past five years. From January to mid-May, tra fish exports to the neighbouring country reached US$174.2 million, making it the biggest currency earner among exports to China.
Last year, China became the fourth largest importer of Vietnamese aquatic products with a value of US$1.33 billion, accounting for 15% of the total. In the first half of this year, seafood shipments to China and Hong Kong were estimated to exceed US$586.4 million, surpassing the EU to become the third largest importer behind the US and Japan.
China is considered an important market of Vietnam but also poses risks if firms fail to pay attention to product quality and trademarks.