Tra fish exports to Japan leaped by 61.5 per cent on year to reach US$11.54 million in the first four months of the year, thus putting the Japanese market on the list of top ten importers of such product for the first time.
Soaring tra fish exports to Japan marks local firms’ initial success in conquering the market as Japanese consumers allegedly prefer seafood to farm-raised fish.
Vietnam Economic Times cited statistics from the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP) as showing that the country racked up US$609 million from tra fish exports in the four – month period, a year on year rise of 4.2 per cent.
China topped the list of tra fish importers with the import value of US$136.9 million, an annual rise of 3.9 per cent. It was followed by the EU with the trade turnover worth US$95 million, and the US with US$87.15 million, up 13.8 per cent.
Japan was ranked 8th among the ten biggest importers of Vietnamese tra fish with the import value reaching US$11.54 million. Most notably, the value of tra fish exports to Japan was higher than those recorded from the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Germany, and Belgium.
The soar in tra fish exports to Japan marks local firms’ initial success in conquering the market as Japanese consumers allegedly prefer seafood to farm-raised fish. It also implies a shift in consumption behavior in the demanding market.
In 2011, tra fish exports to Japan stood at US$2.56 million, equal to only 0.14 per cent of the country’s total export value of such product. However, the 2018 figure has seen a 12-fold jump against 2011.
Tra fish exports currently enjoy tariff incentives from Japan. According to preferential treatment under the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPA) announced by Japan Customs, fresh and frozen catfish fillets imported from Thailand, Mexico, Chile, and the Philippines have been immune from tariffs since April, while those shipped from the ASEAN block are subject to a tariff rate of 3.5 per cent.
Indeed, tariffs levied on some aquatic products imported from Vietnam have been lifted in line with the Japan – Vietnam Economic Partnership Agreement and the ASEAN – Japan Free Trade Agreement.
More importantly, several aquatic products sent to the Japanese market are immune from tariffs according to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) which both Vietnam and Japan are signatories to. The CPTPP allows tra fish products to be exempt from the tariffs of 3.5 to 10.5 per cent as imposed previously.
The three pacts are expected to open up fresh opportunities for Vietnam’s export of tra fish to Japan. VASEP sets high hopes for tra fish firms to penetrate more deeply into the Japanese market.