Seafood exporters lose half of all orders to pandemic

By Dat Nguyen   March 27, 2020 | 08:49 am GMT+7
Seafood exporters lose half of all orders to pandemic
Fishermen examine the fish they caught in central Quang Tri Province. Photo by VnExpress/Hoang Tao.

Seafood exporters are seeing up to half their orders canceled or delayed as demand shrinks amidst the Covid-19 pandemic.

Only 30-50 percent of signed contracts have been delivered this month as buyers in major markets scrap orders, according to a recent report by the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP).

Most of the buyers are in Europe, South Korea and China, all severely impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, it said.

The most often cited reason for canceling orders by buyers is that their country or bloc have closed borders. They also struggle to sell seafood products due to lower demand and closure of food services.

In the first two months, seafood exports to the E.U., South Korea and China fell 20.2 percent, 8.9 percent, and 43.8 percent, respectively, the report says.

Seafood exports to all markets fell 10.8 percent year-on-year to $991.5 million, with double-digit drops in export of the pangasius fish, giant tiger prawns, squid and octopus.

Exporters of pangasius fish have been badly hurt as China accounts for 35 percent of their export. As restaurants and retail chains in China were mostly closed in the first two months, pangasius exports to the market fell 52 percent year-on-year.

Shrimp exporters are also struggling as 35-50 percent of orders to the U.S. and E.U. have been canceled or delayed.

As exporters report falling revenues, VASEP has proposed an income tax break of 50 percent this year. It also wants the government to direct commercial banks to lower interest rates for them.

Vietnam exported $8.5 billion worth of seafood last year, down 2.8 percent year-on-year, with the U.S., Japan, the E.U. and China the largest buyers, according to Vietnam Customs.

 
 
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