Seafood exports to most major markets have fallen by 17-50% this year.
Shipments to the U.S. fell by more than 50% year-on-year to US$284 million, according to the Vietnam General Department of Customs.
Exports to Australia were down 30% to $65 million.
Despite China’s reopening, exports to this market were worth only $279 million, 23% less than last year.
Japan, South Korea, and Thailand imported 7-17% less than last year.
Overall exports were down 28% year-on-year in the first quarter to US$1.8 billion.
Key items such as pangasius, shrimp and tuna saw declines of 30-37%, while exports of crab and other products were down 2-42%.
The figures are alarming for the fisheries industry.
According to the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP), the industry is facing great challenges as global inflation has hit demand.
Fisheries output has fallen since fishermen and aquaculture businesses lack capital.
Production, raw material and labor are rising, making it harder for Vietnam’s products to take on competition from Ecuador, India, Thailand, and Indonesia in major markets.
Businesses are also in a bind because the European Commission has not lifted the yellow card it had issued to Vietnam for illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.
VASEP expects seafood exports to only recover in the third quarter and only if there are support policies to reduce taxes, roll over loans and subsidize loan interest.
The government deferred payment of taxes (VAT, corporate income tax, personal income tax) and land rentals for a fifth time last week to help ease the burden on businesses.
It also reduced VAT to 8% though it has to be approved first by the National Assembly.
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