Export of marine products to hit 3.5 billion USD this year hinh anh 1Workers process tuna at a factory (Source: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – The export of marine products is expected to rise by 17 percent to 3.5 billion USD this year despite likely hurdles, according to the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP).

According to Nguyen Thi Thu Sac, Vice Chairwoman of VASEP and head of its marine products committee, tuna exports still have room to grow thanks to imported raw fish and Vietnam’s trade agreements with a number of countries.

Tuna exports are forecast to top 1 billion USD this year, 350 million USD higher than last year, she said.

Exports of other fish, squid, octopus and other seafood products are likely to be steady or increase slightly, she said.

Referring to markets, she said shipments to Japan are expected to jump by 27 percent to 900 million USD, with exporters focusing on marine fish, surimi and value-added products.

Exports to the Republic of Korea are also expected to rise by 27 percent to 600 million USD as exporters take advantage of the free trade agreement with the country to boost shipments of all kinds of products, especially squid, octopus and crab, she said.

Firms would boost exports of tuna and other fish as well as squid, octopus and crab to the US by an expected 10 percent to 480 million USD, she said.

Last year, exports to the EU fell by 4-20 percent, except for tuna, whose shipments increased by 11.5 percent, but even that growth halved from 2017 due to the impact of the yellow card, she said.

The sector is working to get the yellow card warning lifted this year, she added.

Exports to Southeast Asia are expected to reach 480 million USD, up 18 percent, with a focus on exports of tuna, octopus and other species, the association said.

The association called on exporters to more actively to expand their markets, especially those having free trade agreements with Vietnam, and enhance the value of exports with value-added products.

They also need to enhance cooperation with fishermen for improving the quality of products, it said.

Due to insufficient raw material supply in the domestic market, enterprises import from other countries for processing for export, she said.

Last year, imports were worth 1.25 billion USD, 34 percent higher than in 2017 and accounting for 73 percent of total seafood imports.-VNS/VNA