The Viet Nam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP) on Thursday asked relevant bodies to help the industry deal with capital difficulties to boost exports.
In a written document sent to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the association said that seafood producers and exporters were facing a severe capital shortage as the country tightened credit and the industry's input costs rose by 10-35 per cent against last year.
The association said that credit demands of tra fish producers and exporters alone was estimated at VND14 trillion (US$666 million) this year to invest in aquaculture areas and processing. Especially, seafood businesses are in urgent need of roughly VND500 billion ($23.8 million) for this quarter to ensure business and export performance.
However, seafood producers and exporters face difficulties accessing credit and still have to borrow loans at high annual interest rates of roughly 19 per cent despite the recent rate reduction.
Only a limited number of seafood exporters and producers could access loans with 15 per cent interest rates, the association said.
To help businesses, the association asked relevant bodies to assist producers and exporters in accessing preferential loans.
It also recommended the ministry to ask banks to apply flexible policies for borrowers in the industry. Short-term loans based on size and payment times for export orders should be given to seafood exporters as it helps them avoid having to sell their products at low prices for due maturity at banks, the association said.
The association also asked the ministry to remove regulations on inspecting and granting health certificates for seafood export consignments to Japan and Canada.
The association said the regulation increased inventory and waiting time for results from 7-10 days to arrange schedules and procedures for export, which not only increased input costs but also directly affected the competitiveness of Viet Nam's seafood exporters.
VASEP General Secretary Truong Dinh Hoe said that the removal of the procedure would help seafood exporters gain capital returns, avoid inventory products and cut input costs in the context of restricted capital.
Despite difficulties, the seafood industry in the first three months of this year fetched $1.26 billion, up 13 per cent over the same period last year.