Seafood export’s bountiful catch

December 30, 2011 | 17:00
Industry insiders are suggesting ways to boost seafood exports despite 2011’s buoyant figures.

According to General Department of Customs figures, seafood export’s value hit $6 billion by December 26, 2011 and is expected to reach $6.1 billion by the year’s end.

This represents 6 per cent hike in volume and around 30 per cent hike in value against 2010.

Shrimp and tra fish alone generated the sector more than $4 billion in the export value, while over $2 billion came from other seafood products.

Significantly, export orders sharply rose despite tough business climate.

Besides America, EU and Japan, export value to new markets also hiked markedly. For instance, shrimp exports in Russia doubled in value and were forecasted to accelerate since this country had joined the World Trade Organization from mid December, 2011.

Experts, however, assumed it would be hard for the seafood sector to boost export value in the coming period, especially when the sector just set a modest growth target of 5 per cent in 2012.

From the other angle, Vietnam Association of Seafood Producers and Exporters’ vice chairman Nguyen Huu Dung said: “Seafood export value can reach $10 billion on the back of sufficient import materials.”

“The problem is how much material can be imported,” Dung added.

Reality shows that in 2010 Vietnam earned around $5 billion from seafood export while $300 million was spent on importing materials. In 2011, $500 million was poured into imported materials, resulted in an export value of over $6 billion.

“If we import $2 billion worth materials, the export value can reach $10 billion,” Dung argued.

However, it is not easy to find import material sources. Some firms are importing shrimp from India and Indonesia for processing but they can just operate at 30 -50 per cent of current capacity.

“Besides, it is necessary to slash customs check expenses for firms, otherwise many of them will go bust,” said Cafatex Joint Stock Company general director Nguyen Van Kich.

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