More than 90% of Tra fish (Pangasius hypophthalmus) available in the U.S. market comes from Vietnam, said Vietnamese Trade Counsellor in the U.S. Do Ngoc Hung.
By the end of the third quarter, Vietnam’s frozen fillets of Tra fish exported to the U.S. increased by 19% in volume and 66% in value over the same period last year, accounting for nearly 60% and 43% of the respective total volume and value of fish species imported from Vietnam in the market, he said, citing statistics from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
This was also the product with the highest growth in import price among seafood products bought by the U.S in the first three quarters.
The U.S. remains the largest market for Vietnamese seafood exports, Vietnam News Agency quoted Hung as saying, adding that as of October, Vietnam’s fishery products shipped to the country had earned 1.9 billion USD, up 15% year-on-year. The figures for Tra fish alone were 491 million USD and 70% during the period.
However, Hung said, between July and now, Vietnam’s Tra fish exports to the US have only fluctuated between 32-33 million USD per month, a significant decrease from the peak of 81 million USD in April.
He forecast that difficulties facing Vietnamese seafood, including Tra fish, that arose from the second half of 2022 will likely continue to dominate in 2023 due to the risk of a recession in the global economy and a high level of inflation in the US coupled with volatile exchange rates and stiffer competition from competitors offering low-cost and low-priced products.
He noted one positive sign is that the USDA plans to purchase 1.44 million pounds of catfish products serving food assistance for participants of the Build Back Better programme. Tra fish, with a much lower price than the common level of catfish, has become an import priority of the department.
The fact that many families in the US consumers have changed their consumption habits since the Covid-19 pandemic, including consuming seafood at home and buying these products at lower prices, will be a good opportunity for Vietnam’s Tra fish and other seafood products to approach the table of American families and gain market share in this difficult market next year, the diplomat added.
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