Tuna exports fell after two months of consecutive growth

According to the Agro Processing and Market Development Authority, Vietnam’s tuna exports faced a downturn in major markets in November, following two months of growth. Sales in November decreased compared to the same period last year, impacting the overall export performance of the industry.

Decrease in Tuna Export Value

As of November, Vietnam’s tuna exports generated $594 million, marking an 11% decline compared to the same period last year. Notably, exports of fresh and frozen tuna continued to decline, while sales of processed and canned tuna showed signs of improvement.

Challenges in the US Market

Vietnamese tuna sales in the US market reached nearly $261 million, accounting for 44% of the country’s total tuna export value. However, this figure reflected a decrease of 12.4% compared to the same period last year. The ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic contributed to the decline in exports of fresh and frozen tuna to the US market.

Tough Competition from Chinese Canned Tuna

One of the factors behind this decline was the increased sales of Chinese canned tuna in the US market. Vietnamese companies faced intense competition, hindering their efforts to boost sales during the final months of the year.

EU Market Benefit from EVFTA

Conversely, Vietnam’s tuna exports to the European Union (EU) market continued to benefit from the European Union-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA). In November, there was a slight increase in tuna export value, contributing to a 0.5% overall growth in the first eleven months of 2020 compared to the same period last year. Tariff preferences on Vietnamese frozen and canned tuna played a significant role in stimulating the growth of these products in the EU market.

Limited Demand in ASEAN

The ASEAN region, which was not as severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic as the US or EU countries, exhibited limited demand for tuna this year. Many countries within ASEAN reduced their purchases of tuna compared to the same period last year. The total export value of tuna to ASEAN reached $35.5 million in November, representing a significant decline of nearly 28% compared to the same period last year. Specifically, exports to Thailand decreased by 27.5%.

Decline in Tuna Exports to Japan

Although Vietnamese tuna sales to Japan experienced a recovery in September and October, November saw a decrease in exports, resulting in a 26% decline compared to the same period last year. Nonetheless, due to the growth in previous months, exports to Japan remained 1% higher than the same period last year, surpassing $26 million.


Vietnam’s tuna exports encountered challenges in major markets, including the US, ASEAN, and Japan. While the US market faced tough competition from Chinese canned tuna, the EU market continued to benefit from the EVFTA. Limited demand in ASEAN and a decline in exports to Japan further impacted the overall performance of Vietnam’s tuna industry.


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