Competition is increasing in the Middle East tuna market

( 2023 was an unsuccessful year not only for Vietnamese but also for Thailand tuna exporters in the Middle East market. Thailand's tuna exports to this market decreased by 21% in value and 27% in volume compared to 2022. Therefore, the Middle East dropped to second position among Thailand's export markets after the US, accounting for 22% of total export turnover in 2023.

Competition is increasing in the Middle East tuna market

However, entering 2024, Vietnam and Thailand's tuna exports to the Middle East are tending to recover. Notably, while Vietnam's tuna exports to this market block have unstable growth, Thailand's exports are growing continuously. According to statistics from Thailand Customs, the country's tuna exports to the Middle East in the first 2 months of 2024 reached nearly 124 million USD, up 26% over the same period in 2023.

Middle Eastern countries mainly import canned tuna from Thailand

Among Middle Eastern countries, Saudi Arabia was the largest import market for Thai tuna and is also the country's 5th largest single import market, accounting for 6.4% of Thailand's total tuna export turnover, in 2023. Saudi Arabia was also one of the few Middle Eastern countries to increase imports of Thai tuna in the past year.

In this market region, Thailand is also the main suuplier of tuna,  ranking second before Vietnam. In recent years, Middle Eastern tuna importers have tended to expand imports from other countries to avoid dependence on Thailand, including Vietnam, China, or the Seychelles. Therefore, competition in this market is increasing.

In recent years, although Vietnamese businesses have made efforts to expand their market share in the Middle East, Vietnam's market share is still much lower than that of Thailand.


Ms Van Ha


Tel: +84 24 37715055 (ext. 216)

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