China cuts seafood imports from Vietnam on Covid fears

By Dat Nguyen   August 26, 2021 | 08:39 pm PT
China cuts seafood imports from Vietnam on Covid fears
Workers place fillets of Swai fish to froze at factory in Can Tho City. Photo by Reuters
The fisheries sector has been struggling to export to China after the country tightened import conditions due to fear of the Covid-19 contagion.

In the first seven months, exports to mainland China and Hong Kong declined by 5 percent year-on-year to $238 million, according to a report released Thursday by the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP).

Between June 20 and July 15, Zhanjiang, one of the largest hubs in China for goods transfer, stopped accepting frozen seafood arriving from 11 countries including India, Vietnam and Thailand, three major exporters, due to Covid worries.

In the second quarter, exports of pangasius fish to China, Vietnam’s biggest market, has fallen by 11.4 percent year-on-year.

Though Chinese demand for Vietnamese seafood was large in the first half, the government restricted imports, VASEP said.

With Chinese consumers starting to prefer domestic products due to Covid risks, the government is set to tighten imports even further, it feared.

Exports of pangasius fish to the market are set to fall in the third quarter, but the fall would be less than 10 percent if Mekong Delta businesses can resume operations after social distancing, it said.

Over 100 Vietnamese companies export the fish to China.

China has also been tightening imports of Vietnamese farm produce.

This week, Vietnam urged China to resume imports of agricultural produce through the border in its Yunnan Province after over a month of suspension due to Covid.

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