(seafood.vasep.com.vn) After declining in 2018, China's tuna exports in 2019 have recovered. According to statistics of the General Department of Customs of China, China's tuna exports in the first 11 months of 2019 reached 214 thousand MT, worth US$ 886 million, up nearly 5% in volume and equivalent value compared to the same period in 2018.
Processed tuna continued to be the main export product of China, accounting for over 53% of total export volume. In 2019, China tended to boost exports of processed tuna products, while reducing exports of live/fresh and frozen tuna products to markets. Compared to the same period in 2018, the country's canned tuna exports in the first 11 months of 2019 increased by 16%, while exports of live/fresh and frozen tuna fell by 12%.
In 2019, tuna products of China were exported to more than 86 markets in the world. In particular, EU, Thailand, Japan, the Philippines, Algeria, Vietnam, Russia and Iran were the 8 largest tuna importers of China, accounting for 77% of total tuna export volume of this country.
In 2019, due to the impact of the US-China trade war, China's tuna products exports to the US were subject to high tariffs of up to 25%, reducing the competitiveness of Chinese tuna products in the US market. Therefore, in 2019, China's tuna exports to the US sank. China, as a main supplier of tuna for the US market, has lost market share to Asian countries such as Thailand and Vietnam. The United States was also out of the list of the largest Chinese tuna importer. Instead, in 2019 Chinese tuna exporters shifted their exports to EU markets to offset the decline in the US market. In the first 11 months of 2019, China's tuna exports to the EU increased by 42% in volume and 18% in value. The EU was the largest importer for canned tuna products from China in 2019. Other than EU, China also tended to increase tuna exports to Middle Eastern countries, especially Iran. In recent years, China's tuna exports to Iran market have tended to grow continuously. In the first 11 months of 2019 alone, China's tuna exports to Iran increased by 19% in volume and 8% in value. Given this export trend of China, competition in the Middle East tuna market is expected to be more severe.
Besides, with the resource of being the largest fishing fleet in the world, China was the supplier of raw tuna for processing and re-export of some countries in Asia such as Thailand, Philippines and Vietnam. These contries imported alot of skipjack, yellowfin and frozen bigeye tuna from China. By the end of November 2019, while Thailand tended to increase tuna imports from China, imports of Vietnam and the Philippines decreased.
However, by early 2020, due to the outbreak of the Covid-19 in this country, China's tuna exports were stagnant, and tuna consumption in markets was also affected. It is expected that China's tuna exports will drop sharply, especially in the first months of 2020. The decline in tuna exports of China means that the supply of tuna materials on the world market will also be significantly affected.