Processing fish for exports (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) - The local fishing industry continues to face many challenges toward reaching its year-end export target of 7 billion USD, according to experts.

The Vietnam Association Seafood Producers and Exporters (VASEP) said that the first nine months of this year showed stable export value growth for seafood products, excluding cuttle-fish and octopus. Many export markets trended up, creating solid conditions for local enterprises to promote seafood exports at this year end.

In particular, the free trade agreement between Vietnam and Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) that came into effect on October 5 should create favourable conditions for Vietnam’s fishing industry to increase seafood exports to EAEU member countries.

However, VASEP General Secretary Truong Dinh Hoe reported that in the last three months of this year, shrimp export volume sent to the US might remain stagnant or even reduce. The US Chamber of Commerce has decided to raise its anti-dumping tax on Vietnamese shrimp at rate 5 times higher than previously suggested.

Meanwhile, exports of tra catfish to the US have continued to grow since the beginning of this year. However, local exporters fear anti-dumping duties on the fish and the US tra fish inspection programme, the association said. The tra fish exports to the EU grew slowly in the first nine months while competing with other kinds of white-meat fish.

Tran Van Linh, chairman of the Thuan Phuoc Seafood Joint Stock Company, said hitting the yearend export target of 7.1 billion USD will require great effort from the nation’s fisheries.

By the end of December 2016, the industry will almost certainly have growth, but there likely will not be many more large export contracts signed, he said. Enterprises already have orders for Vietnamese seafood products for the Christmas and New Year occasions from main markets.

Seafood exports were expected to increase in Japan and the Republic of Korea by end of the year, he said.

According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, in this year’s nine-month period, seafood exports brought home more than 4.9 billion USD, surging 4.3 percent year-on-year. The US, Japan, China and the Republic of Korea were the four main importers of Vietnamese seafood, making up 53.7 percent of the total export revenue.

If Vietnam were to earn 7.1 billion USD in export value of seafood for this whole year, the figure would be 7 percent higher than 2015.-VNA