Vietnamese seafood likely to get bigger market share in US

Last year witnessed the US emerge as Vietnam’s largest export market with a turnover of US$97 billion, making up 27% to its total export turnover.

Statistics unveiled by the Vietnam Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP) indicate that Vietnam has earned between US$1.5 billion and US$2 billion annually from seafood exports to the US over the past 10 years, representing between 18% to 23% of the country’s total seafood exports.

The US is the leading consumer market for key products such as shrimp, tuna, and pangasius. But it only produces 10% of shrimp for local demand and imports the remainder, with 50% to 60% being farmed, warm/brackish water, and frozen shrimp.

Meanwhile, Vietnam is also an import partner of US seafood traders with an import value of US$65 million to US$70 million annually. Its major imported products include salmon, herring, pollock, and flounder, among others. Most of those seafood products are exported to Vietnam for processing and they are then re-exported back to this market.

However, the seafood industry, like others, has yet to bring into full play its export potential in the US market due to years-long tariff barriers imposed such as anti-dumping taxes on shrimp, pangasius, and recently anti-subsidy taxes placed on imported shrimp.

In this context, that the US is considering recognising Vietnam as a market economy offers high hopes to many economic industries, including seafood, said Le Hang, communication director at VASEP.

The US Department of Commerce (DOC) heard a testimony on May 8 about the prospect of recognising the Vietnamese market economy status, with conclusions expected to be reached in July.

If the Vietnamese market economy status is recognised, this will be an advantage for local businesses in the upcoming administrative reviews of anti-dumping taxes on shrimp and pangasius and anti-subsidy investigations. In addition, other barriers and regulations may also be reviewed in a more relaxed and favourable manner for the Vietnamese seafood industry, stated Hang.

At the same time, she analysed that it is also an opportunity to attract more investors from the US to the Vietnamese seafood industry, helping to further expand seafood trade opportunities between the two countries.

According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade, such a recognition will help to reduce anti-dumping taxes on imports from Vietnam, while goods from non-market economies are often subject to higher taxes in anti-dumping tax investigations.

When tariff barriers are removed or relaxed, Vietnamese seafood products will regain their competitive advantage in the US market, while also helping US consumers to gain more access to quality and affordable seafood sources from Vietnam.

Source: VOV