The concerned agencies are speeding up the establishment of a distribution centre for tra fish in the European market.

Head of the Science, Technology and International Cooperation Department under the Directorate of Fisheries Nguyen Viet Manh told Saigon Economic Times that they were coordinating with the Export and Import Department under the Ministry of Industry and Trade, and Vietnamese Trade Office in Belgium to work with the trade agencies in Belgium's Flanders and Zeebrugge areas and a number of Belgium companies to establish the distribution centre.

The Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Processors (VASEP) and Belgium's Zeebrugge Port late last year had also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on establishing the centre.

Under the MoU, a centre will be built at Zeebrugge Port to receive, auction, and distribute Vietnamese tra products throughout the EU. The port's location between France's Le Havre and Germany's Hamburg makes it one of the European market's leading seafood distribution centre.

However, Hoe said, the biggest obstacle for the project was a regulation requiring 8 percent of Vietnam's total tra fish exported to the EU to go via the centre, while the sale or storage of tra fish at the centre was exporters' decision.

Hoe said that a series of detailed regulations and policies must be issued to have all Vietnamese- tra fish go via the centre before being transported to distributors in the EU, and the quality and price of the fish needed to be maintained throughout.

Hoe said that the project would bring major benefits to Vietnam's tra fish industry as the centre would function as an importer bringing Vietnamese tra fish to Belgium and European retailers without using any intermediaries.

It would help Vietnamese tra fish exporters to save time and reduce costs, Hoe said.-VNA