Positive signs ahead for Vietnamese pangasius exports to US, China

Despite a significant fall in exports in 2022, there are bright prospects ahead for pangasius exports this year thanks high demand from China and the United States – the two major markets for Vietnam, according to insiders.

Statistics from the Vietnam Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP) show Vietnamese pangasius exports fell 12% to a record low of US$475 million in 2022. This decline was attributed to the impact of high inflation globally which has led to a fall in the number of orders coming from foreign markets.

Le Hang, communications director of VASEP, pointed out that the early days of the new year saw a number of seafood processors get orders from major markets, with Hung Ca Co., Ltd. now busily preparing for an export order of 21 containers of pangasius fillets. At Vinh Hoan Jsc, nearly 10,000 workers have also returned to the firm as they prepare for their latest export orders.

Industry insiders analysed that China’s recent decision to reopen its border from its three-year hiatus impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic has served to create opportunities for Vietnamese agricultural products, including pangasius, to penetrate the market.

Pangasius exports brought in US$712 million from China last year, accounting for 40% of Vietnamese seafood exports to the market, said experts, adding that Chinese consumers tend to prefer pangasius over tilapia.

Along with a reduction in freight costs, the move is anticipated to facilitate greater seafood exports to the market in the time ahead.

Furthermore, experts also expressed optimism about demand for pangasius and tilapia in the US market this year, particularly as the ban on Russian whitefish has resulted in a shortage of the product in the demanding market.

Most notably, it is anticipated that the country’s pangasius exports still see an upturn to this market due to the US – China trade conflict and the COVID-19 pandemic limiting China’s export of tilapia to the US.

Moreover, with the US gradually getting back on track and the decline in inventories, the market law on supply and demand is likely to stimulate greater orders for pangasius to bounce back after the Lunar New Year (Tet), as well as offering fresh impetus to the recovery of pangasius businesses this year.