Vietnam shrimp exports expected to reach USD3.1b

VIETRADE – Vietnam’s shrimp exports in the first nine months of 2016 is valued at USD 2.2 billion, up 5.6 % compared to the same period last year, according to the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (Vasep). Despite prolonged drought and saltwater intrusion, the shrimp industry has managed to stay afloat. According to Nguyen Xuan Cuong, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development around 680,000 hectares (1.68 million acres) of land has been used to farm shrimp this year, down 1.4 percent against 2015, but total output could hit 680,000 tons, up 14 percent on-year. Even though the country lacks shrimp supplies in the remaining months of this year due to the impacts of saltwater intrusion, making VASEP to lower the export forecast by 300 million USD, Vietnam shrimp exports by the end of 2016 is still expected to reach USD 3.1 billion, up 3.3% year on year, raising the total seafood export value to more than $7 billion.

The positive growth was attributable to higher exports to the world market, stability in the monetary market and rising demand from major markets, the association said. There has been an increase in demand in key import markets.  Shrimp exports to the US, EU, China and Korea stayed firm, except for Japan which dropped 4.2%. Shrimp exports to China saw the highest growth of 30.3%, while to the US, EU and Korea increased 15.2%, 6.9% and 12.3% respectively. In addition, lower shrimp exports of other shrimp producers in the world such as India, Thailand and Ecuador, had benefited Vietnam’s shrimp producers and exporters. the global shrimp production in 2016 is expected to fall due to drought in many regions caused by El Nino effects. Shrimp production in 2016 in Vietnam and other shrimp producers will not grow. Therefore, the global shrimp price tend to inch up 10-15% after sharp decrease in 2015 (VASEP).

MARD is working with the Australian government to promote exports of fresh Vietnamese shrimp to the country in addition to manufactured shrimp products. According to the ministry, a number of nations have issued warnings against Vietnamese shrimp in recent times. In July this year, Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) started categorizing imported food in Australia into two groups, including food that poses a medium-high risk to human health and food that needs supervision. The organization also set testing rules for Vietnamese seafood. At present, Vietnam is the fourth-biggest seafood supplier of Australia. Following FSANZ’s move, a delegation of the agriculture ministry went to Australia to deal with matters relating to Vietnam’s seafood exports.

Australia allows fresh shrimp imports from Vietnam, according to the Vietnam Trade Office in Australia. The country consumes 50,000-60,000 tons of shrimp a year and half of the volume is imported. The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development early this month issued Decision 4088/QD-BNN-TY on a plan to monitor shrimp farming to make sure shrimp meets requirements for export. The ministry will seek help from OIE experts on supervising Vietnam’s shrimp farming. The purpose is to establish shrimp farms that meet OIE’s epidemic safety requirements. They will get certificates so as to sell shrimp products to Australia and other countries.   Australian officials are expected to Vietnam in November to check shrimp farms before making their final decision.

However, beside opportunities and favorable conditions from the market and Vietnam itself, VASEP estimates that there will be more challenges for shrimp exporters coming from stiffer quality requirements and anti-dumping duties set by some important markets like the US and EU.