(Nucimex) The EU accounts for about 28% of the total value of shrimp imports worldwide. EU shrimp imports range from US$6-8 billion per year. In 10 years (2007-2017), imports of shrimp into the EU increased from US$ 5.6 billion to 6.9 billion in 2017. Export of Vietnamese shrimp, especially whiteleg shrimp to some markets in the EU, is currently witnessing various opportunities.
The EU is Vietnam’s largest shrimp import market, accounting for 24.7% of Vietnam’s total shrimp exports. Vietnam shrimp exports to this market by September this year reached US$648.4 million, increasing by 11% compared to the same period in 2017.
The UK and the Netherlands are the two largest import markets for Vietnamese shrimp in the EU. In the first nine months of this year, shrimp export to both markets achieved positive growth of 27.6%, a rise of 11.6% compared to the same period last year.
The UK is the largest importer of Vietnamese shrimp in the EU, accounting for 27% of Vietnam’s total shrimp exports to the EU and accounting for 6.7% of total Vietnam shrimp exports in total. In the first nine months of this year, Vietnam shrimp exports to the UK reached nearly 176 million USD, rising by 27.6% over the same period last year.
In the past 3 years, Vietnam shrimp exports to the UK have grown continuously from US$114.6 million in 2014 to US$ 210.6 million in 2017, an increase of nearly 84%. Vietnamese shrimp exports to the UK has a tendency to increase as the UK promotes the import of warm water shrimp thanks to affordable pricing to replace cold water shrimp. The market had preference for products such as frozen whiteleg shrimp; processed, skinned and beheaded PD frozen whiteleg shrimp; steamed frozen IQF whiteleg shrimp & processed materials.
In the EU, the Netherlands is Vietnam’s second largest shrimp importer after the UK. In the first nine months of this year, Vietnam shrimp exports to the Netherlands reached US$158.6 million, up 11.6%. Vietnam is the largest shrimp supplier to the Netherlands, accounting for 37.6% of the total import value of this market in 2017.
In the structure of Vietnamese shrimp products exported to the Netherlands, whiteleg shrimp accounted for the highest rate of 86%, followed by tiger shrimp (10%) and remaining accounting for 4%. The Netherlands is increasingly in high demand for processed white shrimpleg products (HS code 16) from Vietnam.
Vietnam shrimp exports still maintains competitive advantages compared to other big competitors in the EU market such as India and Thailand. These two rivals in Vietnam are increasingly reducing exports to the EU due to problems regarding meeting quality standards.
On October 17, 2018, the European Commission approved the submission of the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA), preparing for signing and completing the process. After EVFTA comes into effect, Vietnam will be able to cut import tax on raw shrimp and processed shrimp into this market.
For the consumer segment, more and more Europeans buy shrimp from supermarkets to prepare at home, instead of eating shrimp at restaurants. This is the advantage for whiteleg shrimp as the proportion of whiteleg shrimp in the retail market is increasing.
European restaurants often use tiger shrimps due to their delicious taste and outstanding size but the economic crisis is making whiteleg shrimp more popular. As tiger shrimp is still popular at high-end restaurants and in southern Europe region, this is also an opportunity for businesses that can supply large-size whiteleg shrimp with lower price than tiger shrimp.
For the processing segment, Europe is increasingly in demand with steamed shrimp for MAP products (modified atmospheric packaging products).
In order to boost shrimp sales to the EU, businesses should increase the number of farms that is certified with good farming practices, ensuring environmental and social standards, as well as the number of upgraded factories with processing lines that meet European retail standards.
According to ITC, in the first 8 months of 2018, EU shrimp imports reached over US$4 billion, decreasing by 2.8% compared to the same period. Spain and France are the 2 largest import markets in the group, accounting for 18% and 16% respectively of the total import value of the whole sector. Spain mainly imports raw whiteleg shrimp from Argentina and Ecuador for processing and packaging for domestic consumption and re-export.