Vietnam’s Export Sector Sees Limited Impact from China’s Japanese Seafood Ban

by Ella

China’s recent ban on Japanese seafood due to concerns about radioactive contamination has sparked modest opportunities for Vietnamese exporters, though the overall gains remain marginal due to declining Chinese demand.

The ban, which was imposed on August 24, came in response to Japan’s discharge of treated radioactive water from the damaged Fukushima nuclear power plant into its seawater. Hong Kong and Macau have also announced their bans, covering Japanese seafood imports from ten regions.


The CEO of a Vietnamese seafood exporter based in Nha Trang, in the central region, noted that the ban could boost the export of certain products, such as tuna, with Chinese buyers increasing their tuna orders by 15% year-on-year. However, demand for shrimp and octopus remains 20% lower year-on-year.


While some industry insiders suggest that the ban might present opportunities for Vietnamese seafood, it remains a modest prospect. Japan accounts for only a small portion of China’s seafood imports, with Japan contributing around 3% of China’s seafood imports last year, compared to Ecuador at 18.6%, Russia at 14.4%, and Vietnam at 8.8%.


Despite the ban, pangasius, one of Vietnam’s primary seafood exports, has not witnessed a significant increase in shipments to China due to subdued demand.


The Vietnamese seafood industry has faced a challenging year, with declining demand from major markets such as the U.S., the E.U., and China, amid rising inflation and economic difficulties. Exports of pangasius to China have dropped 32% year-on-year to $325 million, while shrimp exports have fallen 9% to $338 million, according to the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP).

VASEP’s general secretary, Truong Dinh Hoe, suggests that Vietnamese exporters will not see substantial benefits from the Japanese seafood ban.



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