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Tra export companies suffer low profits in mainland China, Hong Kong

Exports of tra fish (pangasius) to China and Hong Kong in the first half of February this year suffered a sharp plunge, according to a report released by the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP).

The turnover of Vietnamese tra fish exported to China hit 13.55 million USD, down 38.6 percent over the same period last year.

The figure accounted for 8.5 percent of Vietnam’s total outbound sales of the fish during the period. The export value to Hong Kong also fell by 40.5 percent.

VASEP’s market analysts attributed the unexpected decline to many difficulties, including the COVID-19 pandemic and measures used to slow the spread of the virus.

Early last year, seafood processing factories in China were impacted by the pandemic, which caused interruptions in trade, affecting the export volume of tra fish to this market. 

Early in the third quarter last year, trade between Vietnam and China increased again ahead of China's National Day in October. In October last year, the price of frozen tra fish fillets exported to China suddenly surged to 2.52 USD per kg.

However, China then stepped up efforts at border gates to contain the spread of the coronavirus through imported frozen products, affecting Vietnam’s tra fish exports.

According to VASEP, since December last year, Guangxi Province which borders four provinces of Vietnam including Quang Ninh, Lang Son, Cao Bang, and Ha Giang has conducted surveillance, disinfection and origin traceability measures to strengthen control of all consignments of frozen seafood imports.

Frozen seafood shipments from Vietnam, including tra fish fillets, need a certificate of food testing, certificate of quarantine, certificate of disinfection and certificate origin traceability and a negative COVID-19 test.

Frozen seafood goods imported to Guangxi via border gates and seaports must be sent to local centralised monitoring warehouses for a nucleic acid test, sterilisation and origin traceability control.

These extra requirement shave slowed exports.

Vietnam exports a diverse range of tra fish products to China including frozen fillets, frozen tra fish stomach, fried/dried fish bladder, frozen whole tra fish and frozen tra fish belly, among others.

Last year, 145 seafood companies exported tra fish to the Chinese market and 40 others shipped their tra fish to Hong Kong.