In 2017, the outlook for Vietnam’s tra fish export to the US market seemed bleak due to high anti-dumping taxes and the transfer of the catfish inspection program to the US Department of Agriculture. These challenges posed significant difficulties for implementation. However, in 2018, particularly in the last two quarters, tra fish exports to the US experienced unexpected changes.
Early Challenges and Signs of Growth
During the first two quarters of 2018, tra fish export to the US market remained somewhat unstable. In February and June 2018, the export value dropped by 4.3% and 5.5% respectively compared to the same period the previous year. Meanwhile, tra fish export to China maintained a positive growth rate ranging from 38% to 132% compared to the corresponding period in 2017.
Surpassing Expectations: Tra Fish Export Soars
Despite early predictions of double-digit growth in tra fish export to the US market, the second quarter of 2018 witnessed a significant surge. Tra fish export to the US reached its peak for the year, with a value of nearly $66 million, surpassing export value to China by $23.2 million. This represented an astonishing 256% increase compared to August 2017. In the subsequent months of the fourth quarter, tra fish export to the US continued to grow at impressive rates, ranging from 92% to 152% compared to the same period the previous year.
Regaining the Top Position: Factors Driving Export Success
With this steady increase and growth, the US market regained its position as the primary destination for Vietnam’s tra fish export by the end of October 2018. Several factors contributed to the surge in tra fish exports to the US market. Firstly, the 14th anti-dumping tax review (POR14) concluded that the tax for Vietnamese tra fish and basa products exported to the US market was much lower than the previous review’s final result of $3.87/kg. Secondly, the US Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) recognized Vietnam’s catfish control system as equivalent to that of the United States. Lastly, the ongoing trade war between China and the US presented an opportunity for Vietnamese tra fish to gain market share from tilapia products in the US import market.
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