Japan has surpassed the US to become the biggest importer of Vietnam’s fishery products, with over $310 million in value in the first quarter of 2023.
However, the revenue from this market still dropped 11% year on year, according to the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP).
Exports to Japan fell sharply in terms of some key products such as white-legged shrimp down 35%, salmon down 4%, and octopus down 6%. Meanwhile, increases were seen mainly in caught seafood, including squid, scad, pollock, tuna, and jack mackerel, rising about 13 – 88%.
Ranking second, the U.S.’s fishery imports from Vietnam plunged 50% to about $290 million.
The US purchases mainly frozen products while in this segment, Vietnam is facing great competition pressure in both supply and prices from India, Ecuador, and Indonesia, VASEP noted.
Shipments to China, another major market, declined 22% to approximate $255 million in Q1. Tra fish made up the majority of fishery exports to this neighbouring market, 61%, while shrimp about 20%.
South Korea’s purchase of fishery products from Vietnam also dropped 13% to nearly $178 million. Exports to the E.U. were valued at $210 million in Q1, down 29%.
VASEP predicted that China will become the largest market of Vietnam’s fishery products, but the competition pressure is huge as exporters in other countries are also focusing on this Northeast Asian market after its post-pandemic reopening.
Meanwhile, shipments to the EU, the US, Japan, and South Korea are unlikely to make breakthroughs because high inflation has caused consumers there to spend less, and average export prices have declined from last year, according to VASEP.