In the first two quarters of 2017, the total export value of tra fish reached US$ 836.4 million, down 0.3% over the same period last year.
In the first 6 months, tra fish exports to the US reached US$ 176.4 million, down 5.7% over the same period last year. However, with export growth of 8.4% in the second quarter of 2017, the US continued to be the biggest import market of Vietnamese tra fish.
The decline in tra fish export value in two major markets, the United States and the EU, forced the companies to change to other potential markets such as China, Brazil, Mexico, Colombia and Saudi Arabia. In the second quarter of 2017, tra fish production was stabilized, the price of tra fish material has decreased after the surge in April, 2017. Impacts from import markets has affected the domestic production.
According to Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP), in early July 2017, the US Food and Veterinary Authority (FSIS) announced that it would officially apply Article 9CFR557 (Regulation on the mandatory inspection program for Siluriformes Fish and Fish products) from the 2nd August, 2017 instead of 1st September, 2017. Hence, all shipments of Siluriformes imported into the United States will be inspected by FSIS at the I-Houses designated by the appropriate authorities. It is forecasted that by the end of 2017, tra fish exports to the US market will decline due to the early transfer of FDA to FSIS.
In case Viet Nam has not yet completed the implementation of the “Similarity in standards of tra fish production and processing management” regulation, the US will extend the six months of preparation for that. It means the deadline would be March, 2018.
However, according to Nguyen Phu Hoa - Deputy Director of Import-Export Department (Ministry of Industry and Trade), tra and basa fish from Viet Nam are more likely to be stopped completely importing into the US market from March, 2018. The reason is that it is very difficult for us to meet the new standards and regulations set by the US.
President Donald Trump’s government has turned his back on free trade, dismissed the TPP and obviously supported the market protectionism. Therefore, all exporters would face challenges when they try to enter the US market. By their force, the US will set technical barriers that are sometimes unreasonable and may violate WTO rules, such as the latest Agricultural Act (Farm Bill).
According to VASEP, there are 14 tra fish enterprises exporting to the US market. However, there are only 3 main exporters having a significant volume of export such as Vinh Hoan Corp, Hung Vuong Corp and Bien Dong Seafood. Other firms have only contracted or abandoned this market due to high antidumping duties.
It can be said that during the first half of this year, Viet Nam's tra fish to large markets encountered many barriers and difficulties. This has a negative impact on domestic production, causing a unstable price of raw material and fingerlings of tra fish.
Hương TràSource: MINISTRY OF AGRICULTURE AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT DIRECTORATE OF FISHERIES