Bright prospect for tra fish exports in 2023

Despite experiencing a sharp decline in the last quarter of 2022 and the first month of 2023, tra fish (pangasius) exports still see bright outlook this year, according to insiders.

Le Hang, director for communications at the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP), said from October to December last year, tra export value decreased 12% from a year earlier to 457 million USD.  The decline continued to linger until the beginning of this year, with 50% in January.

However, she said tra fish exports are likely to enjoy good growth in the remaining months of the year thanks to increasing demand from Vietnam’s two largest markets, namely China and the US.

China’s lifting of the Zero-COVID policy is facilitating the export of Vietnamese agricultural products, including tra fish, to this market, Hang was quoted by Nong Nghiep Viet Nam (Vietnam Agriculture) newspaper as saying.

The fact that Chinese consumers tend to prefer tra fish to tilapia, a key aquatic species raised in their country, is also a good opportunity for Vietnamese businesses to boost exports to the neighbouring country, she noted.

Sam Galletti, president of Southwind Food - a US seafood importer, predicted that consumption of pangasius and tilapia in the US market will rise this year thanks to stable supplies and affordable prices.

The lack of cod supply due to the sanctions against Russia and the reduction in catches will also pave the way for the export of other types of white fish to the US market. In addition, the US tends to import more tra fish fillets than tilapia fillets.

The exports of tra fish to other markets besides China and the US are also expected to rise.

Luu Van Khang, Commercial Counselor of Vietnam’s Trade Office in Mexico, said the shipment of Vietnamese tra and basa fish to the North American country enjoyed zero tariffs under the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, describing it an opportunity for Vietnam to continue promoting tra fish exports to this market.

Last year, Mexico is the third largest market of Vietnamese tra fish with an export value of 105.1 million USD.