Tuna exports are expected to top 1 billion USD this year, up 350 million USD from last year, according to the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP).
VASEP General Secretary Truong Dinh Hoe said exports grew by 10 percent last year to 653 million USD.
Despite being affected by the EC yellow card warning for failing to make progress in fighting illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, the country managed to increase exports though the growth rate was lower than in the previous year, he said.
Vietnam exported tuna products to 105 markets last year, with the US, the EU, Israel, ASEAN, Japan, Canada, China, and Mexico being the major ones. The US topped the list with nearly 230 million USD worth of purchases.
Frozen tuna fillet was a key export item to the US last year as shipments of processed tuna increased significantly while those of canned tuna products fell, VASEP said.
Vietnam was the fourth largest supplier of canned and processed tuna products to the US behind Thailand, Ecuador and China, and the second largest supplier of frozen fillet after Indonesia.
Tuna exports to the EU fell by 10.7 percent in the fourth quarter of last year, but thanks to good growth in the first three quarters, exports were still up 11.5 percent from 2017 to 158 million USD.
Similarly, exports to Japan fell by 25.6 percent in the fourth quarter, but overall exports were up by 1.7 percent to nearly 25 million USD.
Frozen fillet was Vietnam’s key export item to Japan.
With their strong fishing capacity, the competitiveness and supply capacity of countries with “thousands of islands” were much higher than that of Vietnam, the association said.
In the canned tuna segment, Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines, China, and Vietnam were the biggest global suppliers.
Vietnam’s market share fell sharply to just 2 percent while that of Thailand was nearly 61 percent and Indonesia and the Philippines’s was 17 percent each.
Enterprises also imported tuna worth 349 million USD last year, an increase of 31 percent, to process for export.
They imported from 49 countries and territories, with Taiwan (China), the Republic of Korea, China, the US, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, and Japan being the largest suppliers.