Vietnamese aquatic products are gaining a firmer foothold in the global market as evidenced by healthy growth in export to both traditional and new markets.

In the first seven months of 2014, the country’s aquatic exports picked up 24.5 percent from a year earlier to 4.2 billion USD with the US, the EU, Japan, the Republic of Korea (RoK) and China as top importers.

Such a pace was fuelled by strong shrimp shipments which saw double-digit growth in many markets, said the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP). Shrimp export to the US and the RoK even posted three-digit increases.

In the first half of this year, white-legged shrimp brought home 1.06 billion USD, shooting up 133 percent compared to the same period last year.

Shrimp exports for the period almost reached 1.8 billion USD, a year-on-year increase of 62 percent, and accounted for 49.5 percent of total export revenues from aquatic products.

Nguyen Huy Dien, deputy head of the Directorate of Fisheries under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, attributed the achievement to stable material supply and good control over diseases of shrimps.

Rising demand also pushed the export of other kinds of crustacean, squid and octopus up by 14 – 21 percent.

Meanwhile, Vietnam’s efforts to ensure the quality of its products have been paid off.

To satisfy strict quality regulations by importers such as Japan, the US and the EU, relevant agencies have closely monitored the trading and the use of substances used in aquaculture, helped farmers with professional techniques, and imposed sterner rules on cultivation.

At present, some 100 tra fish farms covering more than 2,800ha of water, about 40 percent of Vietnam’s tra fish farming area, have received sustainable production certificates such as VietGAP, ASC, BAP, SQF 1000/2000 CM. Notably, 2,000ha of them have been confirmed as meeting GlobalGAP standards.

All frozen food processing companies in Vietnam have satisfied the national food safety standards and are operating under the HACCP quality management system, eligible for exporting their products.

Among them, 415 (or over 73 percent) seafood processing plants in the country are qualified for shipping their goods to Europe.

Notably, Vietnam is piloting a tuna production chain following Japanese standards in three central provinces, namely Binh Dinh, Phu Yen and Khanh Hoa.

The shipment of aquatic products has also been assisted by trade promotion in potential markets as well as active negotiation with foreign partners to enhance cross-border activities and deal with trade barriers.

VASEP predicted that aquatic exports will continue the upward trend in the third quarter to hit 2.1 billion USD, including 1.2 billion USD from shrimps, as foreign demand is expected to increase in the holiday season at the end of the year.-VNA