(seafood.vasep.com.vn) According to the International Trade Center (ITC), in the first four months of this year, shrimp imports into Japan reached US$ 638 million, down 0.5% from the same period in 2019. Japan was also one of the earliest affected in Asia by the COVID-19 pandemic, so the demand for shrimp imports of this market was somewhat affected by the epidemic. Among the top 5 key shrimp suppliers to Japan, shrimp imports into Japan from India lifted the most, imports from Vietnam and China slightly augmented meanwhile imports from Thailand and Indonesia fell.
According to ITC, in the first four months of 2020, Vietnam was still the largest shrimp supplier to Japan, accounting for 26.5% of total shrimp imports into this country. Thailand ranked second with 16.7%, followed by Indonesia at 15.8% and India at 12.2%. The average price of shrimp imports from Vietnam and Thailand gets the highest levels, at US$11/kg and US$11.25/kg, respectively. In the top of major suppliers, Vietnam has to compete on price with other suppliers in this market (Indonesia: US$10.25/kg, India: US$8.96/kg ...).
For raw shrimp (HS code 030617) imports into Japan, the import tax for Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia and India shrimp was equal to 0%, the import tax for shrimp of Argentina, and China was 1%. Before receiving preferential treatment from the trade agreements between Vietnam and Japan, Vietnamese shrimp products HS code 160521 and 160529 exports to Japan were taxed respectively 1.08% and 1.42%.
Notably, among the top staple suppliers, shrimp imports into Japan from India in the first four months of this year grew by 19%. In early April 2020, Japan reduced the frequency of tested samples for black tiger shrimp imports from India from 100% to 30% as the test no longer found furazolidone in shrimp lots from India. This is a good opportunity for Indian shrimp processors to increase exports to Japan. To date, Japan consumes nearly 40% of India's total export of black tiger shrimp. As such, Vietnamese shrimp will have to compete more with Indian shrimp in this market.
According to the data of Vietnam Customs, Japan was the largest shrimp importer of Vietnam, accounting for 21% of the total export value of Vietnamese shrimp to markets. In the first four months of 2020, Vietnam's shrimp exports to Japan reached nearly US$180.5 million, up 11% over the same period in 2019. In the first four months of 2020, Vietnam's shrimp exports to Japan grew sharply in February 2020 with 63.2% and April 2020 with 19%, exports in January, and March declined slightly.
For many years, Vietnam has maintained its No. 1 position in shrimp supply to Japan thanks to its advantages over other suppliers in the Japanese market. The ASEAN-Japan Free Trade Agreement (AJCEP) came into force on December 1, 2008, and the Vietnam-Japan Bilateral Free Trade Agreement (VJEPA) came into force on October 1, 2009. These agreements helped create favorable conditions for tariffs on Vietnam's seafood exports to Japan. Shrimp exports to Japan are more conducive when CPTPP takes effect from January 2019.
2020 is considered to be the second year the Japanese economy grows low. The real GDP of the Japanese economy is expected to grow by only 0.49% in the fiscal year kick-off in April 2020. Trade tensions with South Korea, the political situation in the US continue to affect the Japanese economy. It is unlikely that Japan will increase its seafood consumption demand, including shrimp in 2020. It is expected that Vietnam's shrimp exports to Japan will not increase in 2020.