Vietnamese Importers Hungry for Indian Seafood Products

India accounted for 25.7% of the US $508 million worth of fishery products imported by Vietnam during the first five months of 2017, according to figures from the Southeast Asian nation’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. In the month of May alone, imports were valued at $87 million.

India continues to rank as the leading shrimp exporter to the United States, with 30.5 million pounds having cleared US customs in that market thus far this year. Shipments reportedly advanced 80% in April and 43% for the year, compared with 2016 figures.

Exports of shrimp to the United States from Vietnam and Thailand up until now are lower than a year ago.

Vietnam No. 2 Supplier to EU

VASEP logoMeanwhile, Vietnam currently ranks as the second largest shrimp exporter to Europe, accounting for more than 19% of volume. In 2016 it stood as Europe’s third largest supplier, behind frontrunner Ecuador and No. 2 India.

Buyers in the EU, where unprocessed shrimp and semi-processed imports from Vietnam are subject to 4.2% and 7% tariffs, respectively, compared to 12% and 20% for Indian product, sourced US $118.8 million worth of shrimp from Vietnam during the first quarter of 2017 –up 6.4% year-on-year.

The United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Germany were the top three destinations for Vietnam-sourced shrimp brought into the EU during Q1, according to Kim Thu, a shrimp market specialist with the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP).

In a recent post on the VASEP website, she reported: “Shrimp exports to the UK, the largest buyer of Vietnam shrimp in the bloc, dropped 2.8% to US $27.8 million in the first three months of this year. After showing strong growth throughout 2015 and the first three quarters of 2016, shrimp exports to the UK in the last quarter of 2016 fell by 3.9%. In early 2017, exports to this market grew positively in January and February before declining in March. Although demand for warmwater shrimp in the UK remained high thanks to reasonable prices and a drop in supplies of coldwater shrimp, Vietnam shrimp exports to that market were unstable due to Brexit.”

Elsewhere, Vietnam’s shrimp exports to Germany, valued at US $18.4 million, fell by 22.8% over the same period in 2016.

Ichiban in Japan Market

Shrimp imports by Japan in the first three months of 2017 followed the upward trend of 2016 with a value of US $493.3 million, a 7% advance over the same period of 2016. Out of the top four shrimp suppliers to Japan, imports from Vietnam (valued at $127.6 million), Thailand ($90.2 million) and Indonesia ($80.6 million) increased, with shipments from Vietnam leading the pack at +27% in value. Sales of Indian product plummeted by 33.9% to $38.8 million.

The average import price of shrimp from Vietnam during Q1 was US $12 per kilogram. Vietnam remains the largest shrimp supplier to Japan, accounting for 25.9% of the total imports of the popular shellfish, according to International Trade Center statistics. Second is Thailand with an 18.3% share, followed by Indonesia at 16.3% and India at 7.9%.

Kim ThuKim Thu, VASEP shrimp market specialist.“If in 2016, Vietnam’s shrimp exports to Japan increased by 2.7%, the figure for January to March of 2017 was 29.6%, with the export value of US $135.4 million,” wrote Thu. “Vietnam stayed as the biggest supplier of frozen shrimp (HS code 030617) to Japan, accounting for 61% of Vietnam’s shrimp exports to this market. Frozen shrimp (mainly whiteleg shrimp and black tiger shrimp) picked up 90% of total shrimp consumption in Japan.”