CAN THO – Right before the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) came into force on August 1, Vietnam’s shrimp exports to the EU had increased by 2% year-on-year to US$54.2 million in July after declining for three consecutive months from April to June, according to the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers’ (VASEP) data.
The growth in July signals improvement in the months to come. In the first half of August, the country exported US$29.4 million worth of shrimp to the EU, surging by 26% compared with the same period last year. August’s shrimp exports to the EU would increase by up to 20% year-on-year.
The general director of a shrimp export company in the Mekong Delta province of Soc Trang told The Saigon Times that the EVFTA’s incentives have helped increase the competitiveness of Vietnamese shrimp products in the market.
Some Vietnamese shrimp products such as frozen tiger prawns enjoy preferential tariffs of 0%, while the EU still imposes tariffs from 4.2% to 12% on the shrimp products of Vietnam’s rivals such as Thailand, India, Indonesia and Ecuador.
VASEP forecast that from now until the end of this year, Vietnam’s shrimp exports to the EU will continue to increase, but at moderate rates due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
According to VASEP, the demand for fresh shrimp at restaurants in the EU will continue to fall amid the complicated developments of Covid-19, while the demand for shrimp in supermarkets and retail chains will increase, as people prefer cooking at home. Therefore, the demand for frozen and instant shrimp products will increase, while it will decline for fresh shrimp.
VASEP suggested that Vietnamese exporters focus more on frozen shrimp products to take advantage of this trend, especially during the year-end peak season.
The EU is currently Vietnam’s fourth largest shrimp importer after the United States, Japan and China, accounting for 13.3% of Vietnam’s total shrimp export value.
By Trung Chanh