The seafood enterprises are asked to improve the quality of their products to meet demands required by customers in big markets, a recent conference has heard.

Addressing the conference on seafood consumption trend in big markets and enterprises’ social responsibilities held in Can Tho on December 12 by Swiss GSG Group, Nguyen Hoai Nam, Deputy Secretary of the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers, said that the seafood industry was facing a number of difficulties and challenges.

Those challenges are the growing local seafood production cost, low quality varieties, problems in planning and implementation, commercial lawsuits, weak connection in the industry, and inadequate and inefficient policies relating to value chains, Nam said.

For big markets such as the United States, the European Union and Japan, the biggest challenge is consumers’ growing demand for products produced in sustainable ways and certificates of origin of the products, he said, adding that enterprises must compete via the quality products.

Tran Huu Hiep, head of the Economic Department under the Steering Committee for Southwest Region, said that big opportunities are lying ahead as the ASEAN Economic Community is formed in 2015 but asks companies to boost both their product quality and competitiveness to seize the chance.

According to the VASEP, the seafood industry has exported to 165 markets with an estimated total export value of 7.94 billion USD in 2014, up 18.2 percent from last year and makes the country the world’s fourth biggest seafood exporter.

On this occasion, the GSG launched its office, the sixth of its kind in Vietnam, in Can Tho to provide assistance in certification, verification, inspection, and testing for enterprises in the Mekong Delta region, especially seafood processing and export enterprises.-VNA