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Vietnam shrimp exports: Look back 20 years
July 13, 2018, 10:54 AM
(seafood.vasep.com.vn) Vietnam’s shrimp exports from 1998 to 2017 achieved the impressive growth of 752% from US$453 million in 1998 to nearly US$4 billion in 2017 (up 8.5 times). In the 20 years, despite facing many challenges, the shrimp industry still stands up to become the key export sector, bringing the highest turnover among export seafood products, contributing to the reputation of Vietnam's aquatic products on the international market.

Today, Vietnamese shrimp increasingly asserted its brand and quality with the 3rd rank in the top exporters in the world. Shrimp exporters in Vietnam have increased their revenue, prestige, affirmation of brand name, good corporate responsibility with society and environment.

Vietnam’s shrimp exports in turn to reach new heights

Shrimp is increasingly taking up an important position, contributing a large proportion to total seafood exports. In the total seafood exports, the proportion of shrimp exports on average accounts for about 50%.

For the 20 years (1998-2017), Vietnam’s shrimp export value recorded a remarkable growth rate with a rise of 752%. In the period, the value of shrimp exports reached the lowest in 1998 with US$453 million when the shrimp industry was not focused for development, production stayed low and processing technology was not high. From 1998 to 2002, though the export turnover of shrimp did not exceed US$1 billion, it posted the gradual growth over the years. In 2003, the first time shrimp export turnover of Vietnam exceeded US$1 billion. From 2004 to 2009, the value of shrimp exports increased from US$1.3 billion to US$1.7 billion with a stable annual growth rate.

In 2010, Vietnam’s shrimp exports at the first time hit more than US$2 billion, a growth of 25% compared to 2009.

In 2012, at the first time, Vietnam’s shrimp exports decreased by 6.6% due to a series of technical barriers in many countries. Not only that, 2012 was also in the midst of the world economic crisis, through which the demand for world shrimp consumption fell sharply. Another reason for the decrease in shrimp export value in 2012 was the EMS disease which has impacted not only on production, processing and exports of shrimp in Vietnam.

After 2012, it can be said that two consecutive years of successful exports of shrimp in Vietnam: export in 2013 reached US$3 billion and 2014 with nearly US$4 billion.

In 2013, for the first time in history, Vietnam’s shrimp exports eyed over US$3 billion. Shrimp supply in the world decreased due to EMS, the price of shrimp in the world market increased sharply, the higher demand for whiteleg shrimp while supply and production of Vietnamese whiteleg shrimp in 2013 also climbed; therefore, these main factors help Vietnam obtain the good result. In addition, in 2013, Vietnamese shrimp benefited from the U.S market when it recognized that Vietnam shrimp did not receive subsidies from the government. Accordingly, shrimp enterprises did not have to pay tax twice when exporting to this country.

In 2014, shrimp exports continued to rise by 26.9% year on year; reaching a peak of US$3.95 billion. This is still the record high level of Vietnamese shrimp up to now. This was thanks to the high demand for shrimp in the world and the strong dollar.

The success of Vietnam’s shrimp exports in 2013 and 2014 had confirmed firmly the position of Vietnamese shrimp, especially in the context that competitors faced difficulties. In particular, Thailand had been hit hard by the news of this industry using fish meal by the illegal fishing vessels published in the British media.

Shrimp exports in 2015 reached nearly US$3 billion; down 25.5%. In 2015, export prices fell sharply while demand from key markets did not increase. Shrimp prices worldwide fell sharply by 15-20% due to the difference in supply and demand in the U.S, the EU and Japan. 2015 was a bad year for Vietnamese shrimp industry. The weather was unfavorable throughout the country, low demand from importing markets and currency exchange rate fluctuations led Vietnamese shrimp prices fall down.

From 2016 until now, Vietnam’s shrimp exports showed signs of recovery with the continuous positive growth in each month of year. Demand from major markets rose while the world supply fell. In 2017, shrimp exports reached near the peak in 2014 with US$3.85 billion thanks to the efforts of the industry as focusing on deep-processing products with good prices.

Increasing proportion of whiteleg shrimp exports

Whiteleg shrimp exports increased by nearly 335 times in the 20 years. The export turnover of this item posted the strongest growth out of 3 major export items of Vietnam. In the 20 years, the proportion of this item in the total shrimp export turnover increased from 1.6% to 66%. In 1998, the export value reached the lowest in the three major shrimp items for exports of Vietnam with just over US$7.5 million; in 2017, whiteleg shrimp sales reached a record export turnover of over US$2.5 billion.

2013 was also the first year of whiteleg shrimp to exceed black tiger shrimp exports in value. Before 2012, whiteleg shrimp always accounted for lower proportion than that of black tiger shrimp in the total structure of shrimp exports. With short time of farming, high productivity while the price was quite stable, whiteleg shrimp is considered as one of the main aquaculture species. With remarkable features of productivity, profitability and an expected rise in output, favorable consumption market, production and export turnover of whiteleg shrimp forecasted to continue the rise in the coming years.

Black tiger shrimp exports increased by 7 times in the 20 years. The export value reached the lowest at US$126 million in 1998 and reached the highest in 2010 with over US$1.4 billion. From 1998 to 2002, exports of this item continued to grow. From 2003 to 2014, exports increased continuously. Exports of this item started to decline from 2015 and its share reduced from 66% in 2010 to 23% in 2017.

Advantages from markets

In the country, shrimp industry is receiving attention, encouraging, facilitating from the mechanism and policies. The program of sustainable economic development of fisheries in the period of 2016 - 2020 has been approved by the Government. Accordingly, it strives to actively produce 100% of black tiger shrimp and whiteleg shrimp which are free with diseases.

In importing markets, the world economy expected to recover, especially in major markets such as the U.S, Europe, Japan and China, the demand for seafood in these markets forecasted to continue the growth this year. In addition, a series of bilateral and multilateral free trade agreements with other countries have been signed that will open opportunities for Vietnamese enterprises to boost seafood exports to these markets.

Shrimp exports projected to grow strongly in the future

In 2017, together with pangasius, shrimp was officially approved by the Government as a national product and should be invested to promote development. Besides, the Prime Minister has recently promulgated the National Action Plan for the Development of Vietnam Shrimp Industry to 2025.

The goal is to make Vietnam shrimp industry into a large, sustainable production industry, adapt to climate change and protect the ecological environment. At the same time, to improve the quality, value, production efficiency and competitiveness of Vietnamese shrimp products, bringing benefits to farmers, businesses and the economy. These are considered as important "pushes" for the development of Vietnamese shrimp industry in the coming time. In 2018, many shrimp experts predicted that Vietnam’s shrimp exports will reach over US$4 billion.

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