According to the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP), due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Vietnam’s tuna exports in 2020 was US$ 649 million, a decline of 9.8% compared to 2019. By contrast, exports of tuna to the EU market showed a slight increase of 2.4%, reaching US$ 136 million.
The increase in exports of Vietnamese tuna to the EU is significantly influenced by the EVFTA. From January 2020 to August 2020, tuna exports fluctuated erratically. However, the number of months with decreased exports exceeds the months with increased exports.
Since the EVFTA came into effect on the 1st of August 2020, tuna exports have become stable. 3 out of the last 4 months of 2020 experienced increases in exports compared to the same period of 2019. In particular, exports in September increased by 51%, the number in October went up by 27% and the increase in December was 25% while the figure in November remained the same.
Due to the widespread of Covid-19 in the EU, the demand for processed canned tuna in the region remains high. Thanks to the EVFTA, Vietnamese fresh and frozen tuna products imported in the EU are tariff exempted. Besides, from the 1st of August 2020 to the 31st of December 2020, processed and canned tuna was free from tariff under the quota of 4,791 tons. From 2021 onwards, the quota is 11,500 tons per year.
Given the above preferential tariffs, Vietnamese exporters have promoted exports of tariff-free tuna and tuna products to the EU. As a result, exports of these products increased in the last months of 2020, of which, canned tuna increased by 15% compared to 2019.
Among the largest importers in the EU, Vietnam’s tuna exports to Italy and Germany increased in 2020 which helped increase exports revenue to the EU in 2020. Exports of fresh and frozen tuna to Italy in 2020 increased by 9% compared to 2019. Italy is now the largest importer of Vietnamese fresh and frozen tuna within the EU.
Vietnam is the 5th largest supplier of tuna to Germany, accounting for 5% of the total volume of canned tuna imported into the country.
VASEP states that the preferential tariffs under the EVFTA bring a great opportunity for Vietnamese tuna in the EU, thereby helping Vietnam’s tuna industry mitigate the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic in other markets.
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