Vietnam scales up catfish exports to Thailand

By Hong Chau   May 17, 2016 | 01:31 am PT
Vietnam’s revenue from tra catfish exports to Thailand jumped 16.3 percent to $12.5 million in the first quarter of 2016 compared to the same period last year, according to the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP).

Among the 10 ASEAN members, Thailand has become the biggest importer of tra catfish from Vietnam, accounting for 36.4 percent of Vietnam’s catfish exports to the bloc last year.

Consumers in Thailand reportedly prefer Vietnam’s catfish, especially frozen fish fillets, due mainly to lower prices.

Last year, Thailand imported white fish from overseas to meet consumer demand. Frozen fillet imports from Vietnam were up 12 percent year on year, capturing 60 percent of Thailand’s market, according to industry estimates.

Vietnam’s catfish exports are projected to rise by 15 to 20 percent annually through 2020, with revenue reaching as much as $3 billion a year, said a senior official from VASEP. Vietnam is the dominant catfish producer and exports 1.2 million tons per year, representing a fifth of a market worth almost $600 million, he added.

Vietnamese catfish exporters, who have been faced with high U.S. anti-dumping tariffs, are shifting their export strategy to new markets including ASEAN members.

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