The Republic of Korea was the largest export market for Vietnamese squid and octopus last year (Photo: cafef.vn)

Hanoi (VNS/VNA) – The Republic of Korea (RoK) was the largest export market for Vietnamese squid and octopus last year, accounting for 40 percent of the total value, according to the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP).

In 2018, the export value of squid and octopus to the RoK increased by 23.7 percent to 269.8 million USD.

It recorded the highest growth rate in the top seven largest import markets for Vietnamese squid and octopus. Consistent demand for consumption and advantages in tariffs from the Vietnam-Korea Free Trade Agreement (VKFTA) helped maintain steady export growth.

Vietnam gained a year-on-year increase of 8.3 percent to 672.3 million USD last year from exports of squid and octopus, according to the association.

The export value of those products to Japan and ASEAN last year increased by 4 percent and 15 percent respectively compared to 2017.

Meanwhile, the EU, the third largest export market for squid and octopus, accounting for 12.4 percent of the total, had a drop of 21.7 percent year-on-year in export value to 83 million USD. The reduction was due to the European Commission (EC) imposing a yellow card warning on Vietnamese seafood for failing to make progress in fighting illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.

Exports to three main markets in the EU - Italy, Spain and France - fell by 30 percent, 8.3 percent and 1.2 percent year-on-year, respectively.

Without the yellow card warning, Vietnam achieved a growth rate of over 50 percent year-on-year for squid and octopus exports to the EU market in 2017, according to the association.

In 2018, Vietnam mainly exported live/fresh/frozen squid and octopus products, accounting for 67 percent of the export volume, while processed products accounted for 33 percent.

This year, the export value of squid and octopus is expected to be similar to 2018. The fisheries industry, including squid and octopus, would implement solutions to remove the yellow card to create a good psychology for importers, the association said.

VASEP General Secretary Truong Dinh Hoe said this year the fisheries industry would have a great opportunity to increase exports because global consumption of seafood was likely to increase.

By 2020, consumption was forecast to increase to 98.6 million tonnes in developing countries and 29.2 million tonnes in developed countries, while supply was estimated to reach only 78.6 million tonnes, according to Hoe. This was a great opportunity for Vietnam if its products met global quality standards.

In addition, when FTAs took effect, local businesses would benefit from the removal of tariff barriers.

"We forecast that this year, the fisheries industry’s total export value will reach around 10 billion USD, growing 10-15 percent year-on-year," Hoe said.

To achieve this goal, Hoe said the industry would focus on developing exports to important markets such as the EU, US, Japan and the Republic of Korea and control seafood quality to increase product value.-VNS/VNA