Vietnam officially took the first position from China in 2021 when becoming the biggest seafood exporter to Australia.
Australia is one of the top fifteen seafood importers of Vietnamese seafood among the member countries of RCEP (Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership). Nguyễn Thu Hường, representative of Vietnam Trade Office in Australia, said that Australia produces around 230 thousand tons of seafood, more than a half of which are exported. 70% of seafood consumed by the domestic market are imported from Vietnam, China, Thailand, and Korea. Australia imported a worth of over USD 800 million, up 15.9% from last year.
“China was the biggest seafood exporter of Australia in 2019; however the “position” was taken by Vietnam in 2021 with the total export value reaching more than USD 184.4 million”, said Hường.
In Hường’s opinion, the effective RCEP has brought benefits to Vietnam when exporting seafood to Australia. According to the General Department of Vietnam Customs, Vietnam exported a worth of USD 35.5 million of seafood to Australia in April 2022, up 60.3% as compared to the same period last year, leaving the total export value of USD 128 million in the first four months, up 53.8%. Shrimp and fishes were the main exported species.
“Vietnam has opportunities to export seafood to Australia”, affirmed Hường. She pointed out that the two countries are members of free trade agreements, including RCEP, the largest scaled treaty in the world. Australia’s demand for seafood increased sharply in the last three decades with one million tons being consumed per year. Thus, the domestic production did not meet the demand, resulting in an increase in seafood importation, especially from Asia. The population in Australia is rising rapidly, expecting to reach 40 million people in 2050; accordingly the consumption of seafood, which is at 15kg/capita/year currently, is on an upward trend. Besides Asian supermarkets, Vietnamese seafood is sold in retail and wholesale supermarkets of Australia.
Lê Văn Tài, Deputy General Director of Vietnam Trade Promotion Agency under the Ministry of Industry and Trade, said that leaders of the Vietnam Trade Promotion Agency suggested Vietnam’s enterprises should learn the rules of origins and satisfy the Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measure (SPS) and Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) required by importing countries if they want to increase the export value to member countries of RCEP, Australia included.