In the first quarter of 2019, Vietnam’s tuna export reached over $163 million, marking a 19% increase compared to the same period in 2018. While the overall growth rate for the quarter was not significant, several key markets showcased impressive export growth.
Growing Tuna Exports to the United States
By the end of March 2019, Vietnam’s tuna export value to the United States reached nearly $69 million, showing a remarkable 69% increase compared to the same period in the previous year. The United States has strengthened its import of all tuna products from Vietnam, particularly fresh and frozen tuna.
In contrast to the declining trend observed last year, the export value of Vietnamese fresh and frozen tuna to the U.S. has experienced robust growth, rising by 78% in the first three months of 2019.
Challenging European Union Market
In the first quarter of 2019, the export of Vietnamese tuna to the European Union (EU) faced challenges. The export value to the EU market reached only $29 million, reflecting a 19% decline compared to the same period last year.
Export of tuna products to the EU exhibited a decrease compared to the previous year, and the three largest import markets within the EU experienced a shift, with Spain witnessing impressive growth rates in March 2019. Although Spain and the Netherlands showed an increase in Vietnamese tuna imports, their growth was insufficient to offset the decline in other markets within the EU.
Mixed Performance in Other Markets
In addition to the EU, Vietnam’s tuna exports to Israel in the first three months of 2019 were unsatisfactory, with a continuous decrease observed over the last two months. The export value to the Middle East market reached $13.5 million, reflecting a 14% decline compared to the same period in 2018.
Import trends in Israel indicate a preference for frozen/fresh tenderloin and fillet tuna from Vietnam, while canned processed products are being imported in smaller quantities.
However, Vietnam’s tuna exports to two significant markets, ASEAN and China, demonstrated positive growth, offsetting the decline in the EU and Israel. In 2018, these two markets experienced a reduction in Vietnam’s tuna imports, but this trend has reversed in the current year.
Notably, Vietnam’s tuna export to China has shown impressive triple-digit growth rates since the beginning of the year, as China displays an increasing preference for fresh and frozen tuna imports from Vietnam.
CPTPP Expands Export Opportunities
With the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (CPTPP) coming into force for Vietnam, businesses are leveraging the opportunities it provides to boost exports to participating countries like Canada and Mexico.
Tuna exports from Vietnam to these two markets in the first three months of 2019 have been highly positive, indicating the potential for continued growth and market expansion in the future.