The epidemic is greatly impacting China, one of Vietnam's main seafood export markets, and causing a strong reduction in seafood exports from Vietnam to China.
VASEP Deputy General Secretary Nguyen Hoai Nam said several enterprises exporting tra fish (pangasius), tuna and shrimp had faced suspension of payment for export contracts because Chinese banks were not open due to the coronavirus epidemic. It was expected that from February 16 when banks are set to reopen, Chinese partners would be able to pay Vietnamese export contracts for goods shipped by sea.
In addition, some large shipping firms had not agreed to ship goods to China while some large seafood importers had proposed ships not go past ports in China.
VASEP has predicted that seafood exporters will still be able to receive new contracts but the number of contracts will decrease. Chinese restaurants reducing seafood consumption will affect Vietnam's seafood exports.
Some local seafood exporters have had seafood products sent to China that have had to be stockpiled, racking up large fees to freeze the seafood in stock, according to Nam.
However, Truong Đinh Hoe, VASEP General Secretary, said the epidemic was likely to not have a great impact on Vietnam’s seafood exports this year because usually, demand for imported seafood from Vietnam to China increases in March and April, reported Đầu tư (Investment) newspaper.
Ho Quoc Luc, Chairman of the board of the Sao Ta Food Joint Stock Company - a large shrimp exporter, said nobody knew when the epidemic would end so it was hard to evaluate its impact on the domestic shrimp industry.
"If it is controlled in the next few months, Vietnam’s shrimp industry may not face a big impact, because the shrimp harvest season begins in October," he said.
China is one of Vietnam's four largest seafood export markets, accounting for 16-17 per cent of total seafood export value.
On the other hand, Hoe said VASEP saw many opportunities for local businesses to increase the production of frozen and canned seafood because during and after the epidemic, customers would favour processed seafood.
Hoe also said that large global events like the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Euro 2020 football tournament would boost seafood consumption, especially of shrimp. The scale of the outbreak in China would cause many markets to reduce seafood imports from China.
Vietnam’s seafood enterprises could take those opportunities to increase exports to the US, Japan, South Korea and Europe, Hoe said.
In addition, businesses should also focus on increasing their market shares domestically, said the VASEP representative.
Duong Nghia Quoc, Chairman of the Vietnam Pangasius Association, said besides export strategies to key markets, businesses needed to enhance marketing activities and expand distribution channels at home.
According to Đang Kim Son, former Director of the Institute of Policy and Strategy for Agricultural and Rural Development, together with State support in terms of capital, tax and distribution, enterprises must have long-term development strategies, such as expansion of markets, development of value chains from production to consumption, and development of large-scale production.