Vietnam’s tra fish export is valued at over 1.7 billion USD in 2014 and will remain unchanged in 2015, according to the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP).

The association said 2014 is the third successive year that the shipment of the fish has been fluctuating around the 1.7-billion-USD mark.

According to VASEP, tra fish export began recovering since June and has been rising throughout the rest of the year in such markets as Southeast Asia, Mexico and China.

It, however, faced a continuous decline in the two largest markets, namely the European Union and the United States.

Tran Van Linh, VASEP Vice Chairman, said the current difficult situation resulted partly from the uncontrolled expansion of tra fish-breeding area in previous years.

A slow growth of the key catfish markets posed another challenge to the sector’s export which has already been struggling with the shrinking profit caused by low-price trend, Linh said.

Moreover, the export was also affected when tra fish enterprises have been working to restructure themselves towards raising further the reputation and value of the fish products, Linh added.

The US’s continuous selection of Indonesia as a reference country in calculating tax levels for Vietnam is a big disadvantage for local companies, given differences in conditions, production scale and input costs between the two countries.

The tra fish sector will have to compete against other supplies of white-flesh fish such as cods and tilapias, said VASEP.

In 2014, the Mekong Delta has reserved 5,500 ha for farming tra fish, which turned out 1.1 million tonnes in output.

Vietnamese tra fish products have been shipped to 150 countries and territories across the globe.-VNA