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Vietnam’s farm exports heavily relies on Chinese market

China may become the biggest importer of Vietnam’s seafood in the time to come. It is already the major importer of many other items.

The Chair of the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP), Truong Dinh Hoe, said at a ceremony held on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of VASEP’s establishment that, in the first four months of the year, Vietnam exported $2.5 billion worth of seafood, an increase of 14 percent compared with the same  period last year.

Of 139 target markets, the four biggest markets include the US and Japan which consume 15 percent of total exports, with the EU and China 14 percent. Total export value was around $354-380 million.

With the highest growth rate of 37 percent, it is highly possible that China will surpass the other markets to become the biggest seafood importer of Vietnam.

Vietnam’s shrimp is exported to 64 markets, of which the EU, US, China, South Korea and ASEAN are the major markets with large consumption. Only the exports to Japan decreased by 9 percent because of stiff competition from India.

Catfish exports accounted for 25  percent of total seafood export turnover, with $612 million. The exports to the US increased by 22 percent despite the anti-dumping duties and the catfish inspection program.

However, the biggest importer is now China, which consumed $146 million in the first four months of the year, an increase of 30 percent.

This has sparked concern over the increased reliance on the Chinese market.

China has been in the first position in terms of importing farm produce from Vietnam. 

According to MARD, there are eight export items which have export turnover of $1 billion and more. Except pepper, the other seven key export items have been reliant on the Chinese market. These include cassava, vegetables, rubber, rice, cashew nuts, seafood and timber and woodwork.

Meanwhile, the price of exports to the market are relatively low. Not only reliant on China as the biggest consumer, Vietnam has also relied on China as the biggest supplier of input materials.

Experts in recent years have been repeatedly urging enterprises to seek more export markets to ease reliance on China. However, this is not an easy task.

Le Van Banh, director of the the Department of Processing and Trading Agricultural, Forestry, Aquatic Products and Salt, said problem lies in the export of raw products. 

Since enterprises mostly export unprocessed products, they will suffer once a big partner stops buying products. If Vietnam has good processing technology, it will not have to throw unsold products away, but will process products to sell at higher prices.

Source: Vietnamnet

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