The US has overtaken the European Union (EU) to become the largest importer of Vietnamese tra fish, Vo Hung Dung, Vice Chairman of the Vietnam Tra Fish Association has said.

Dung made the remark during a meeting on May 6 in Can Tho City between the association and leaders of Mekong Delta localities. The participants reviewed the production and export of the fish in the region.
Vietnam earned over 408 million USD from exporting tra fish in the first three months of this year, up 5.17 percent against the same period last year.

The country’s tra fish exports to the US in the period reached nearly 84 million USD, representing a year-on-year increase of 15.2 percent, while the export value of the product to the EU saw a decrease of 13.1 percent (82.87 million USD).

According to the General Department of Fisheries, the US is now also the largest importer of Vietnam’s other seafood products, such as shrimp, crab and tuna.

The main reason behind this growth is the recovery of the US economy in 2013 and 2014, the department said.

In recent times, tra fish farmers in the region have applied cleaner farming processes in accordance with VietGap and GlobalGap standards to improve the quality and output of their products.

The Government has also attached importance to supporting and solving difficulties facing enterprises in producing and selling tra fish, especially helping them to access more capital through lowering loan interest rates.

At the meeting, participants proposed that the General Fisheries Department continue providing investment capital to regional localities to build more infrastructure in order to ensure sustainable development of the aquaculture sector in the coming time.

As of April 2014, localities in the Mekong Delta region have harvested 253,000 tonnes of tra fish in a farming area of 2,814, t he department said.

The provinces of An Giang, Dong Thap and Ben Tre and Can Tho city remain the localities with the largest farming areas and highest output of tra fish, accounting for 85 percent of the total area and output of the whole region.-VNA