Vietnam’s tuna products shipped to the European market reported a respectable growth of 31 percent over the same period last year to reach 106 million USD during the first months of 2013, while exports to other major markets showed a decline.

According to statistics by the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP), the total export value of Vietnam’s fresh/frozen tuna and tuna fillet products reached nearly 54 million USD, showing slight growth of 0.24 percent year-on-year.

Exports of processed tuna products to the bloc also gained impetus. Between Jan and Sep 2013, Vietnam ’s canned tuna exports to the market inched up 76 percent year-on-year while other processed tuna sales scored a staggering gain of 1,565 percent.

Top five largest importers of Vietnamese tuna in the EU reported positive growth. These were Germany (up 61.8 percent), Italy (4.8 percent), Spain (17.8 percent), the Netherlands (85.9 percent) and the UK (2.37 percent).

Portugal and Poland, listed in the top 10 EU importers of Vietnamese tuna, even recorded a tremendous growth of 243.5 percent and 491.8 percent respectively.

However, exports of fresh/frozen tuna and tuna fillet lost momentum in the third quarter, with turnover decreasing by 1 percent from those reported in the same period of 2012.

Experts said, in the context of the decline of tuna catch, the intensification of processed tuna product export to this market is a smart choice.

In the coming time, when the Philippines, Thailand and Ecuador reach the taxation incentive agreements on tuna export to EU, it will be hard for Vietnam ’s products to compete with those from these countries.

Besides, the decline in Vietnam’s two large importers - the US and Japan -, and the EU’s stricter regulations will also strongly impact on Vietnam’s tuna export.

Industry experts said the country’s tuna sector needs to work harder to improve products’ productivity and post-harvest quality to meet the harsh requirements of importers.-VNA