A report from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) showed that the country made just USD11.20 billion in export turnover of agro-forestry-aquatic products, including USD1.79 billion from seafood exports in the first three months of this year.
Vietnam produced nearly 1.90 million tonnes of seafood products during the period, an increase of 1.40 percent compared to the same period last year.
According to the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP), the decline in Vietnam's seafood exports was due to changes in regulations on export quotas, and policies in some key markets.
Sales to the United States, which was the largest importer of Vietnamese seafood products with 14.50 percent of the overall market share, fell from the fourth quarter of 2022 and further in the first quarter of 2023. By the end of February 2023, seafood export turnover to the US stood at USD155 million, down 55 percent on-year.
Sales also fell in South Korea, the fourth largest importer of Vietnamese seafood, to USD46 million during the period, a decline of 25 percent compared to the same period last year.
"Shrimp exports to South Korea are facing more challenges as the local government are applying import quotas on this product from Vietnam," VASEP added.
Meanwhile, in the Chinese market, Vietnamese seafood has faced tough competition from India and Ecuador, which are together account for over 60 percent of Chinese shrimp imports.
MARD pointed out that the sharp decline can be attributed to the global economic slowdown, the Russia-Ukraine conflict, and high inflation hitting some major economies around the world.
Experts have advised local businesses to take full advantage of new-generation free trade agreements, especially the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership and the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement in an effort to accelerate the export of key products moving forward.
MARD revealed that it plans to organise a conference on enhancing trade connectivity among border provinces between Vietnam and China to support enterprises in signing new export orders in the near future.
VASEP predicts that seafood exports may recover from the second quarter of this year.