A corner of tra fish processing line at the Multinational Investment and Development Joint Stock Company of Sao Mai Group. (Source: VNA)

Hanoi (VNS/VNA) - The domestic tra fish industry has faced challenges regarding the purchasing price on the domestic market as well exports due to high tariffs on the product in the US market, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD).

In May, the purchasing price of tra fish continued to decline in the Mekong Delta region, especially An Giang and Dong Thap provinces, the two largest tra fish producers and exporters in the region, said the ministry.

The tra fish price in the region dropped by 1,000 VND per kilo to 23,500-24,000 VND at the end of May and continued falling to 20,000-21,000 VND per kilo.

According to MARD's Department of Farm Produce Processing and Development, the low price is due to firms raising their own fish instead of buying from farmers. Processing companies have not signed any more export contracts.

Last year, Vietnam recorded a tra fish export value of 2.3 billion USD. With the high export value, farmers gained profits of about 10,000 VND per kilo.

The high profit makes farmers to increase supply, he said, which has hit the purchasing price.

The reduction in the price of tra fish has also impacted the demand and price of fingerlings. For instance, the price for fingerlings of tra fish dropped to 20,000-25,000 VND per kilo from 70,000 VND at the beginning of this year.

The ministry also said the tra fish industry has seen a reduction in exports since April after gaining at the start of the year, especially in exports to the US.

However, the industry could expect to see more export opportunities to 10 member countries of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) because local export seafood products will enjoy zero tariffs.

According to the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP), in 2018, the export value of tra fish to the 10 CPTPP countries reached 328.3 million USD, up 17.3 percent year on year.

Now, Mexico is the fifth largest importer of Vietnamese tra fish, after mainland China, Hong Kong, the EU, US and ASEAN. The export value of tra and basa catfish to Mexico in the first four months of this year surged 31.5 percent year-on-year to 40.8 million USD. This is also the largest export market of Vietnamese tra fish in Latin America and in the 10 CPTPP countries.

Japan is also a promising market for local tra fish.

The total export value of Vietnamese tra fish to Japan increased by 37.6 percent year on year in 2018 and continued growth at 38.6 percent year on year to 8.58 million USD in the first four months of this year. — VNS/VNA