Shrimp processing for export (Source: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – Vietnam’s total aquatic product export value in January fell by 12.5 percent year-on-year to 644 million USD due to the impacts of the novel coronavirus epidemic, according to the Vietnam Association and Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP).

The epidemic is greatly impacting China, one of Vietnam’s main aquatic product export markets, and causing a strong reduction in exports from Vietnam to China.

VASEP Deputy General Secretary Nguyen Hoai Nam said several enterprises exporting tra fish (pangasius), tuna and shrimp had faced suspension of payment for export contracts because Chinese banks were not open due to the coronavirus epidemic. It was expected that from February 16 when banks are set to reopen, Chinese partners would be able to pay Vietnamese export contracts for goods shipped by sea.

In addition, some large shipping firms had not agreed to ship goods to China while some large seafood importers had proposed ships not go past ports in China.

VASEP has predicted that aquatic product exporters will still be able to receive new contracts but the number of contracts will decrease. Chinese restaurants reducing aquatic product consumption will affect Vietnam’s aquatic product exports.

Some local exporters have had aquatic products sent to China that have had to be stockpiled, racking up large fees to freeze the seafood in stock, according to Nam.

However, VASEP General Secretary Truong Dinh Hoe said the epidemic was likely to not have a great impact on Vietnam’s aquatic product exports this year because usually, demand for imported aquatic products from Vietnam to China increases in March and April, reported Dau tu (Investment) newspaper.

China is one of Vietnam‘s four largest aquatic product export markets, accounting for 16-17 percent of the country’s total aquatic product export value.

On the other hand, Hoe said VASEP saw many opportunities for local businesses to increase the production of frozen and canned seafood because during and after the epidemic, customers would favour processed seafood.

Hoe also said that large global events like the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Euro 2020 football tournament would boost seafood consumption, especially of shrimp. The scale of the outbreak in China would cause many markets to reduce seafood imports from China.

Vietnam’s seafood enterprises could take those opportunities to increase exports to the US, Japan, South Korea and Europe, Hoe said.

In addition, businesses should also focus on increasing their market shares domestically, said the VASEP representative.

Duong Nghia Quoc, Chairman of the Vietnam Pangasius Association, said besides export strategies to key markets, businesses needed to enhance marketing activities and expand distribution channels at home./.

VNA