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Viet Nam Boosting Seafood Exports to Russia

02 September 2014

VIET NAM - According to General Customs, in the first seven months of 2014, Viet Nam seafood exports to Russia reached $36.2 million, up 5.4 per cent year on year.

Viet Nam seafood exports to Russia are forecast to increase more sharply in the second half, thanks to Russia’s lifting suspension on seafood imports of seven Viet Nam companies and FTAs with the Customs Union, reports VASEP.

Seafood exports to Russia increased by 150 per cent in January and then Russia banned imports of pangasius from Viet Nam, exports to this market started to be down. In March, seafood exports to Russia decreased by 22-28 per cent compared to the same period last year.

It is noticed that in 2013, pangasius accounted for 44 per cent of total Vietnamese seafood exports to Russia while in the first six months of this year, this was only 11 per cent.

In June 2014, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development sent a delegation to Russia to solve technical problems, resuming pangasius exports to Russia, to promote cooperation in food safety control and disease control on animals as well as animal-derived products. The two countries agreed to review and update the information in exchange information on food safety, disease of aquaculture and terrestrial animals.

As a result, in early August, Russia lifted the suspension on seafood imported from Viet Nam for seven companies, of which five with pangasius products and two with frozen shrimp.

In 2013, total value of imports and exports between Viet Nam and Russia reached $2.76 billion, up 12.6 per cent year on year. Viet Nam exports were $1.9 billion, up 17.7 per cent. In particular, exported seafood products reached $105 million, up 4.5 per cent.

Russia is an attractive market with tax incentives and strong consumption. The sixth round of negotiations completing technical issues for FTA between Customs Union and Vietnam ended last June, consistent with the schedule.

Accordingly, Viet Nam will be the first Southeast Asian nation to sign FTA with Customs Union. The Agreement would be signed in late 2014 and early 2015. This would bring great exporting opportunities to Russia for Vietnam enterprises.

The seventh negotiating session scheduled to take place in September 2014 in St Petersburg. This will be a chance for Viet Nam to push Russia to strengthen cooperation to ensure food safety for agricultural products, to increase the number of Viet Nam seafood exporters allowed to join this market, and to regulate microorganism limit in aquatic products.

Russian banned seafood imports from the United States, the EU, Norway, Canada and Australia within one year from date of 7 August 2014 because of political issues related to Ukraine.

Products from other countries would be considered as substitutes. Norway, with the salmon products, is by far the largest seafood supplier to Russia, accounted for 36-41 per cent of the market in the past five years. The United States, accounted for 2.5 per cent market share, offers mostly roes, cod and other frozen fish. Most EU imports to Russia are mackerel, sardines, salmon and other fish types.

This will be a good opportunity for Viet Nam and other countries to boost seafood exports to Russia. Viet Nam pangasius may have the opportunity to return to the Russian market, replacing the white fish products limited due to Russian ban on 7 August.

TheFishSite News Desk

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