Vietnam’s shrimp industry faces rough year with $3.4 bln export target

By VnExpress   February 23, 2017 | 06:45 pm PT
Shrimp exports in 2016 rose 6.7 percent from a year ago to $3.15 billion

Vietnam's shrimp industry is struggling with tight domestic supply and barriers in key import markets while striving to reach the $3.4 billion annual export target this year, the Vietnam News Agency reported.

China's strong demand has boosted sales of Vietnamese shrimp, prompting a shortage of the aquatic product on domestic markets and thus leading to higher shrimp prices, a processor in the Mekong Delta province of Soc Trang was quoted by the news agency as saying.

Vietnam ranks the world’s third-largest in shrimp production and is the biggest exporter of the product in Japan, according to the agriculture ministry.

Shrimp prices have risen 10-20 percent in recent weeks in the Mekong Delta, Vietnam's major shrimp region, so many enterprises could not afford the purchase for processing and export.

“Domestic shrimp prices are now higher than export prices,” executive Tran Van Linh of a seafood company based in the central city of Da Nang told the agency. “From the fourth quarter of 2016 until now, the domestic prices were so high that all types of shrimp for export are causing losses.”

Shrimp processors said tight supply will prevail until May, when the next shrimp harvest begins, the report said.

Besides, key export markets such as the E.U., Japan, South Korea and Australia have erected trade and technical barriers to prevent diseases from spreading or to improve quality, industry officials said.

South Korea has recently added seafood imported from several countries, including Vietnam, to a list of items subject to quarantine.

Japan has raised shrimp sampling for all the shipments from Vietnam for a banned antibiotic since December 2016, instead of 30 percent of each cargo previously.

Australia, which imports 30 percent of its shrimp demand from Vietnam, has banned fresh shrimp import to prevent the white spot syndrome from spreading among its prawns. 

The Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers said the decision has caused losses for Vietnamese exporters as they could not sell the product prepared for Australia in other markets.

Last year Vietnam's shrimp export rose 6.7 percent from 2015 to $3.15 billion, based on the association's data. It aims to accelerate the export revenue growth to 8 percent this year to earn $3.5 billion.

Overall, the country projects to export $7.4 billion worth of seafood products in 2017, a six-percent increase from last year despite slowing demands from foreign markets.

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