Vietnam seeks to raise tuna exports to Japan

HCMC – The Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP) and local enterprises are seeking solutions to speed up tuna exports to Japan.

Vietnam has seen tuna export revenue bouncing back strongly since early this year, with the value of export to Japan posting significant growth.
According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the nation’s seafood export value was expected at US$2.8 billion in the January-May period, up nearly 10.5% year-on-year. The U.S., Japan, China and South Korea were four key markets for Vietnamese seafood for making up 53.5% of total export revenue.

It is noteworthy that tuna exports recovered strongly with earnings jumping 20% to US$216 million. However, canned and frozen tuna products were the key revenue generators while the fresh tuna export value remained modest.

Japan is one of eight biggest tuna export markets of Vietnam. However, local enterprises are subject to higher taxes than regional exporters such as Thailand and the Philippines, according to VASEP.

Therefore, the association in a recent petition sent to the Ministry of Industry and Trade suggested negotiations with Japan to cut the tuna import tax to 0% like that enjoyed by the two other countries. At present, Vietnam’s canned tuna products are subject to a tax of 6.4% in Japan, putting local firms at a disadvantage in the competition against regional rivals.

Some local firms have approached the market by shipping fresh tunas for auction at the Osaka Central Fish Market. Recently, Binh Dinh Fishery JSC has sent seven ocean tunas to the center.

According to the ministry, ocean tuna is among products of high economic value and strong potential for export. Along with tra fish and shrimp, tuna is regarded as a national product of the fishery industry.
In 2014, the ministry passed a plan to pilot a closed chain for tuna fishing, trading, processing and consumption. The project has fetched initial positive results so far.