Vietnam has emerged as one of the fastest seafood importing countries in the world with growth values reaching double digits in 2021. As per the preliminary released by the General Department of Customs (GDC), Vietnam’s seafood import value in the 10 months of 2021 reached nearly USD 1.62 billion, which is 11.5% more than the value recorded during the same period of 2020. The main sources for seafood imports remained India, Norway, Southeast Asia, China, and Japan. Imports from South Korea, Australia, and Canada also recorded an increase in the volume and value of seafood imports during this period. Seafood from these countries is relatively new for the Vietnamese seafood-loving population, but they managed to make their place in the market in 2021.
Seafood imports from India alone were worth 265.2 million USD, accounting for 16.4% of the total imports and 27.3% more than the value recorded during the first 10 months of 2020. Norwegian market’s seafood imports were worth about 184.86 million USD during the same period with a share of 11.4% in the total seafood imports. The value of imports was up by 15.3% over the same period of 2020. Both South Asian markets - China and Japan had a share of 8.8% (up by 26%) and 8% (down by 2.5%) respectively. Overall, Vietnam’s seafood imports from the major markets increased over the same period last year.
Vietnam’s seafood imports from relatively newer markets like South Korea and Australia also increased sharply. The rate of growth is commendable in the current pandemic-like situation across the world. Vietnam imports a range of seafood varieties from these set of countries but shrimp, crab, abalone, snail, and fish fin, in particular, have seen an increase in terms of their volumes and varieties. Currently, the GDC is aggregating data for these three countries to come up with solid numbers however according to data released by Australia, in the first 10 months of this year, Australia’s seafood exports to Vietnam increased by more than 45%, reaching over USD 62 million.
The majority of Vietnam’s seafood imports are driven by a growing fondness for imported seafood but this year has been exceptionally good. While the majority of the countries refrained from importing seafood due to the pandemic, Vietnam found new sources and varieties to introduce into their market. Apart from demand, Vietnam’s ability to preserve fresh products has also increased in the last few years. This has also driven the demand for imported fresh seafood. Furthermore, many countries have preferential import tax for fresh goods set at 0%, which makes the price of products relatively low and pocket-friendly for the consumers as well. Furthermore, South Korea and Australia have many policies in place on export tax and product promotion to Vietnam which further drives up the imports.