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Big opportunities for seafood exports to Australia
30 | 07 | 2014
To further boost seafood exports to Australia, the Vietnamese Trade Office in Australia will lead the Seafood Importers Association of Australia and the Sydney Fish Market Management Team to several seafood farms in the Mekong Delta and the Vietnam Fisheries International Exhibition (Vietfish) in Ho Chi Minh City this August.

The Vietnamese Trade Office in Australia said that with a population of more than 23 million now and an expected 40 million by 2050, Australia will increase its demand for seafood annually. The per capita seafood consumption rate for this market increased from 10kg in 1990 to 25kg this year. However, the rate is still 40 percent less than what was recommended by Australian health organizations. For this reason, the demand for seafood will increase in Australia in future years offering opportunities for Vietnamese seafood exports.

As demand has exceeded domestic production capacity, Australia has imported more than 200,000 tonnes of seafood for over US$1 billion per year. Vietnam is the third largest exporter following New Zealand and China and now accounts for 20 percent of Australia’s total seafood imports. Vietnamese seafood exports to Australia reached US$88.7 million in the first five months of this year accounting for 5.7 percent of Vietnamese total exports to this market and representing a 40.7 percent increase from a year ago. Vietnamese favorite seafood includes shrimp and Chem and Basa fish.
 
Nguyen Thi Hoang Thuy, the Vietnamese Trade Representative in Australia said that Australia was Vietnam’s potential seafood export market and that businesses needed to closely follow Australia’s strict regulations on food hygiene and biological safety. For this reason, the best solution for them is to export high-quality products and build a reputation for Vietnamese seafood to make it on a par with Australian products. Businesses should also pay attention to the origin of their products and get them certified in terms of food safety, sustainable environment and working conditions. If possible, they should create stories about the origin of their products which are attached to local people. Nguyen Thi Hoang Thuy said that Australians wanted to buy the whole story, rather than only the food. To really understand the market, suppliers should learn about consumers and seek sound solutions for their wholesale and retail system. 
“Vietnamese businesses should also provide value-added products, rather than only raw materials and cheap products. In doing so, they would contribute to building trust among consumers and change their thinking about Vietnam which they regard as a country that only sells cheap and low-quality products,” said Nguyen Thi Hoang Thuy.
 
She also said that although Vietnam recently launched a trade promotion plan via media, the country needed to take other comprehensive measures such as applying advanced farming and processing technology and quickly build a quarantine center in Vietnam to be recognized by Australia like those in Thailand and India.
 
Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP) Deputy Chairman Nguyen Huu Dung said that to increase the presence of Vietnamese seafood in Australia, businesses needed to understand several issues. First, Australia has a high demand for seafood, particularly products they do not make such as Tra and Basa fishes which are Vietnamese advantageous products. Second, Australian consumers are very concerned about food hygiene and safety and prefer to buy products from responsible businesses. 
 
To further boost seafood exports to Australia, the Vietnamese Trade Office in Australia will lead the Seafood Importers Association of Australia and the Sydney Fish Market Management Team to several seafood farms in the Mekong Delta and Vietfish in Ho Chi Minh City this coming August. The Seafood Importers Association of Australia represents about 70 percent of seafood importers to Australia, while the Sydney Fish Market is the largest seafood wholesale market in Australia and the second largest fish market in the world, following the Tsukiji Tokyo Fish Market in Japan. The Sydney Fish Market exchanges an average of 14,500 tonnes of seafood per year, of which 14.6 percent was imported in 2013, mostly from New Zealand and Indonesia. The upcoming visit to Vietnam by the Australian delegation is expected to contribute to realizing the goal of more than US$200 million worth of Vietnamese seafood exports to Australia by the end of this year
 
The Australia Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) featured seafood farming and processing in Vietnam for 16 minutes on February 15, 2014, showing its positive evaluation of Vietnamese seafood farming and processing and food hygiene and safety. The television program was the result of efforts of the Vietnamese Trade Office in Australia and related agencies to promote trade with Australia via media.
 
Source: VEN
 


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