Many Opportunities to Boost Tuna Exports to The UK

9:29:12 AM | 9/14/2023

The UK is currently importing a lot of fresh and frozen tuna products from Việt Nam, and it is forecast to show many positive signs in the coming months.

Sea tuna undergoes inspection before being sold in the central coastal province of Khánh Hòa Province. — VNA/VNS Photo

According to information from the Việt Nam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (Vasep), Việt Nam is the 13th largest tuna supplier in the UK market. Ecuador, Mauritius and Seychelles are leading this market.

However, Vasep forecasts that Việt Nam's tuna export activities to the UK will continue to be positive in the last months of the year.

According to Đầu Tư (Investment) online newspaper, the reason is that, the prolonged El Nino phenomenon this year causes rainfall in the Panama Canal to decrease, which affects the transportation of goods from South American countries, including Ecuador, to European countries through the Panama Canal.

Shipping companies must choose alternative routes, for example, going around the Strait of Magellan, at the tip of South America, with an additional travel distance of thousands of kilometres.

Therefore, it could be said that this was an opportunity for Asian countries, including Việt Nam, to raise tuna exports to European countries, including the UK, said Vasep.

Currently, the UK imports a lot of fresh and frozen tuna products from Việt Nam, accounting for 99 per cent of total export turnover.

Compared to the same period, Việt Nam's exports of these products to the UK increased by 98 per cent.

Meanwhile, exports of processed and canned tuna decreased.

Gaining back momentum

Statistics from the General Department of Việt Nam Customs said that after a sharp decrease of 51 per cent in May this year, the country's tuna exports to the UK continued to increase in the following two months.

This growth has contributed to raising the country's total tuna export turnover to the UK in the first seven months of this year to 77 per cent higher than the same period last year, reaching more than US$4.5 million.

Looking at the overall picture, in the context of rising inflation and raw tuna prices, which causes tuna consumption demand in many markets to decline, Vasep believes that Vietnamese tuna products in markets like the UK still maintain competitiveness thanks to advantages from the Việt Nam - UK Trade Agreement (UKVFTA).

Notably, earlier, the UK signed the agreement and officially became the 12th member of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) on July 16.

The country's accession is expected to boost trade between this country and members of the CPTPP bloc, including Việt Nam.

"Along with UKVFTA, incentives from CPTPP will open up opportunities for Vietnamese seafood products to enter the UK market, including tuna," Vasep expressed its confidence.

It is known that Việt Nam's tuna exports in the first seven months of this year were still 28 per cent lower than the same period, reaching $458 million.

Purchasing power in some main markets was still low, affecting Việt Nam's tuna exports.

In particular, the US was the largest export market for Vietnamese tuna, which has recorded a decline in export turnover of up to 49 per cent year-on-year, down to $171 million.

However, fish export activities recorded positive growth in some other markets such as the UK, South Korea, Thailand, and Germany.

Recently, the EU market had shown signs of recovery, reaching a growth rate of 28 per cent in June and July, with a turnover of $12 million per month.

Notably, within the EU, exports to the Netherlands have continuously grown in the last two months at three digits; and those to Germany maintaining an increase of 30 per cent in June and July.

Tuna exports to Mexico and Chile also increased sharply by 100 per cent and 90 per cent, respectively; while those to Thailand growing at a high rate of 65 per cent in the last two months.

Talking to Công Thương (Industry and Trade) newspaper, Nguyễn Hà, Vasep tuna market expert, said that shipping companies must choose alternative routes.

The Strait of Magellan, at the tip of South America, is a natural waterway but is about 7,000 km from the Panama Canal and almost 6,000 km from the Port of Manta, so is a huge detour for container ships.

Therefore, it could be said that this was an opportunity for Asian countries, including Việt Nam, to increase tuna exports to European countries, including the UK.

There was an estimated trade surplus of $20.2 billion in the first eight months of the year.

Of which, the domestic economic sector's trade deficit was $14 billion. The foreign invested sector (including crude oil) had a trade surplus of $34.2 billion.

Sharing about the overall export picture, Trần Duy Đông, Director of Domestic Market Department under the Ministry of Industry and Trade, said that although export turnover still fell by 10 per cent in the first eight months of this year compared to the same period last year, that of each month alone showed positive signs.

Previously declining from January to April, exports regained positive growth momentum from May to August.

“This recovery is the result of efforts in building institutions and policies to promote trade promotion and expand export markets; at the same time, making effective use of commitments in free trade agreements (FTAs)," Đông said.

Source: VNS