Catfish exports to China and US down, Vietnam puts hope on EU market

The catfish consumption level from the two biggest markets, China and the US, unexpectedly fell in Q1.

The General Department of Customs (GDC) reported that Vietnam exported $39.47 million worth of catfish to China in March, a decrease of 12.9 percent compared with the same period last year.

Catfish exports to China and US down, Vietnam puts hope on EU market

In the first three months of the year, the exports to China brought $99.3 million, or 1.8 percent lower.

The turnover of catfish exports to the US, also decreased dramatically by 44.4 percent in March, dropping US into the third position among the biggest catfish consumers of Vietnam.

In the first three months of the year, the US market imported $71.16 million worth of catfish products from Vietnam, a 5 percent decrease compared with the same period 2018, which accounted for 15.1 percent of total catfish export turnover in Q1.

In the first three months of the year, the US market imported $71.16 million worth of catfish products from Vietnam, a 5 percent decrease compared with the same period 2018, which accounted for 15.1 percent of total catfish export turnover in Q1.

The sharp fall in the catfish exports to the US is blamed on the anti-dumping duties imposed on Vietnam’s exporters.

Last year, the US declared zero dollar and 19 US cents per kilogram anti-dumping duties on exports from Vinh Hoan Seafood and Bien Dong Seafood companies, respectively, after the 13th period of review (POR 13), but imposed very high duties on other companies.

Nine of the companies bear a tax rate of $3.87 per kilogram or higher, the highest tax rates on catfish so far. Therefore, Vietnamese companies have headed for other markets.

Meanwhile, Vietnamese farmers and exporters can see high risks from the Chinese market. The country is rushing to develop domestic catfish farming and its output is now high enough to satisfy a part of the domestic demand. A report found that there are 20 catfish processing factories in southern provinces of China which can produce 30,000 tons.

 

Moreover, China is no longer an ‘easy to please’ market as the Chinese administration has tightened control over farm and seafood produce from Vietnam. At present, only 13 Vietnamese enterprises have licenses to export to the market.

Despite the sharp falls in exports to the US and China, Vietnam still exported $472.2 million worth of products in Q1, up by 7.8 percent compared with Q1 2018, thanks to strong demand from the EU, ASEAN, Mexico and other markets.

A director of an export company commented that exports to the EU have become much more satisfactory with export turnover in Q1 soaring by 42.4 percent.

VASEP commented that the EU, especially the four biggest consumers, the Netherlands, UK, Germany and Belgium, are the ‘potential markets’.

As for ASEAN, Thailand and the Philippines remain the biggest markets, while Malaysia is a ‘rising star’.

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Mai Lan

 
 
 
 
 
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