The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about significant changes in the seafood industry. Amidst the global economic uncertainty, European Union (EU) and United States (US) buyers are stocking up on canned tuna products, leading to an expected boost in Vietnamese canned tuna exports. According to the Vietnam Association Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP), the EU and US are predicted to increase their demand for Vietnamese tuna products this year.
Forecasted Increase in Tuna Exports
VASEP has projected that tuna exports will surge by approximately 15% this year from over US$719 million in 2019. In particular, the value of Vietnamese tuna exports to the US increased by nearly 38% from the previous year, reaching $316 million. The demand for tuna products in the US has been on the rise, especially for canned products, over the years, leading to an increase in the country’s imports.
US-China Trade War
Moreover, with the ongoing US-China trade war, importers in the US are actively seeking alternative sources of supply, including Vietnam. In 2019, Vietnam remained the second-largest tuna supplier to the US after Thailand.
Decline in Vietnamese Tuna Exports to EU
However, Vietnam’s tuna exports to the EU declined by 11% to $140 million due to the bloc’s yellow card. The EU issues a yellow card warning to countries that are not effectively dealing with illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing in their waters. The yellow card warning affected Vietnamese tuna exports to the EU.
Opportunities for Vietnamese Tuna Producers
The rise in demand for canned tuna products in the EU and US, coupled with the ongoing US-China trade war, presents an excellent opportunity for Vietnamese tuna producers to expand their export markets. The increasing demand for canned tuna products is due to the ease of consumption and long shelf life, which has become essential during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Vietnamese tuna producers can take advantage of this opportunity by adopting sustainable fishing practices and complying with the IUU fishing regulations set by the EU. This will help to ensure that Vietnamese tuna exports to the EU continue to grow. Additionally, Vietnamese tuna producers can develop new products, diversify their exports, and improve their packaging and labeling to meet the demands of their customers in the EU and US markets.
In conclusion, Vietnamese canned tuna exports to the EU and US are predicted to increase this year due to the ongoing pandemic and the growing demand for canned tuna products. The Vietnamese tuna industry can capitalize on this opportunity by complying with the IUU fishing regulations set by the EU, adopting sustainable fishing practices, and improving packaging and labeling to meet the demands of their customers in the EU and US markets.