Vietnam Seafood Exports Soar in Q1 2024, Setting Up Annual Target of US$9.5bn

by Ella

The United States emerged as the largest importer of Vietnamese seafood in the first quarter of 2024, with exports to the country increasing by 16 percent to US$330 million. The surge was particularly strong in categories such as shrimp, tuna, tra fish, and crab, which saw increases ranging from 13 percent to 53 percent.

The recovery of tra fish prices in the US, following a low at the end of last year, contributed significantly to this growth. Additionally, the price of white-legged shrimp has seen a slight rise, although it remains below the five-year average.


A pivotal development in this growth is the US Department of Commerce (DOC)’s final findings in the 19th anti-dumping duty administrative review. This review set the anti-dumping tax rate for five Vietnamese companies at US$0.18 per kilogram for frozen tra fish fillets exported between August 2021 and July 2022, a reduction from previous rates. This favorable outcome provides a positive outlook for Vietnamese tra fish exporters.


Moreover, preliminary countervailing duties announced by the DOC on Vietnamese, Indian, and Ecuadorian shrimp were significantly lower for Vietnam compared to the other two countries, further boosting Vietnam’s competitive edge.


China and Hong Kong demonstrated a sharp increase in demand for Vietnamese seafood. Exports of key products such as lobster, crabs, and white-legged shrimp surged by 11 times, seven times, and 2.5 times respectively compared to the same period last year. This increase is partly due to China tightening inspections on shrimp imports from Ecuador, leading to a reduced supply from Ecuador and increased opportunities for Vietnamese exporters.


In Japan, Vietnamese seafood has gained popularity, with notable increases in exports of white-legged shrimp (20 percent), crab (23 percent), and tra fish (25 percent) in the first quarter. The strong performance in this market underscores Vietnam’s growing reputation as a reliable seafood supplier.

While shrimp and tra fish exports to the EU and Korea have yet to show significant recovery, tuna exports to these regions have risen by 27 percent and 15 percent, respectively. Overall, tuna exports to major markets have been robust, with a 30 percent increase to the US and a 9 percent increase to Japan.

Squid and octopus exports to Korea also grew by 16 percent, although exports to the US and Japan declined by 3 percent and 21 percent respectively.

Outlook and Challenges

Despite the average export prices being higher than at the end of 2023, they remain lower than historical averages. The Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP) is optimistic that upcoming international seafood fairs in the US, EU, and Japan will help companies secure more orders at better prices.

Considering the first four months of 2024, Vietnam’s seafood exports reached US$2.7 billion, marking a 6 percent year-on-year increase. In April alone, Vietnam’s seafood export revenue hit US$770 million, up 4 percent year-on-year. According to VASEP, exports of tuna, tra fish, crab, and various shellfish all showed positive growth from January to April compared to the same period last year. Notably, Vietnam’s shrimp export revenue in April reached US$285 million, the highest value recorded since the beginning of the year.

VASEP’s communications director, Lê Hằng, highlighted that Vietnam, the world’s top exporter of frozen shrimp after India and Ecuador, might gain further opportunities as these competitors face warnings regarding antibiotic residue and labor issues. However, she emphasized the importance of Vietnamese firms adhering to strict regulations in both domestic and international markets to maintain their export momentum.

VASEP anticipates Vietnam can generate US$9.5 billion from seafood exports in 2024. This includes US$4 billion from shrimp exports, US$1.9 billion from pangasius sales, and US$3.6 billion from other seafood products.

Following these strategic recommendations may optimize export operations and expand global market reach:

Enhance Regulatory Compliance: Ensure rigorous adherence to both domestic and international regulations to mitigate risks and capitalize on competitive advantages against countries facing regulatory issues.

Market Diversification: Continue to diversify export markets to reduce dependency on any single market and to leverage growth opportunities in emerging markets.

Focus on Value Addition: Invest in value-added processing to increase product appeal and command higher prices in international markets.

Strengthen Supply Chain: Improve supply chain efficiencies to enhance product quality and reduce costs, thereby improving competitiveness.

Leverage Trade Fairs: Actively participate in international seafood fairs to expand market reach, secure new orders, and negotiate better prices.



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