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It is finding its way onto restaurant menus and into stores, as well, where one may see it called basa, tra, or swai.(Photo: SLS Company Inc/Korea)

Pangasius exports to Korea could be boost in the near future

Click on the flag for more information about Viet Nam VIET NAM
Wednesday, June 26, 2019, 02:30 (GMT + 9)

In 2018, the export value of pangasius and basa fish to the Korean market reached USD5.75 million, up 28% year on year. However, in the first 4 months of this year, the export value of this product to Korea decreased by more than 14% over the same period in 2018. So far, Korea is still a small market for Vietnamese pangasius.

Alaska pollock took the largest part among frozen fish fillets imported into Korean market, followed by tilapia, pangasius and catfish (Photo: Pangasius)

Over the past 8 years, the export value of pangasius to the Korean market has remained at average growth. Currently, South Korea is the 51st largest pangasius importer out of nearly 120 importers of Vietnam.

In May 2015, Vietnam and South Korea officially signed VKFTA. This agreement took effect from December 20, 2015. With the agreed content, many experts believe that this Agreement will bring positive impacts to Vietnamese seafood exporters, especially for shrimp and cephalopod exporters. But in fact, the export of Vietnam's seafood products to the Korean market has not grasped and taken advantage of preferential tariffs from this FTA.

With pangasius and basa fish products, which have not been known by many Korean consumers and importers, there are still no effects of VKFTA to help pangasius export to this market grow more. So far, Korean customers remain loyal to seafood and shrimp products.

Koreans consume a diverse of products: anchovies, shrimp, squid, tuna, Alaska Pollack, mackerel, yellow corvina, Pacific saury, flatfish, monk fish, eels, rock fish and cod fish ... The fisheries industry of Korea is trying to change consumers' perceptions of seafood products (healthier than red meat). This will be the key to expanding domestic demand in the future. Currently, the import rate of white fish products begin to increase in the country's seafood import structure.

The import rate of Korean pangasius products accounts for only 0.1 to 0.45% of this country's total import value. Meanwhile, the import value of Alaska pollack accounts for 59-62% of the total value of white fish. Russia and the US are the two largest suppliers of white fish products for the Korean market, accounting for 75% and 20% of the total import value respectively. Vietnam is the third largest supplier with the strength of frozen fillet pangasius and basa products. Alaska pollack and cod fish are two popular products in the Korean market. These are products that attract consumer tastes of Korea.

Processing plant for pangasius (Photo: Stockfile)

As analyzed above, the perception of Korean consumers is gradually changing, customers are also beginning to look for seafood products that replace red meat products with many health benefits. Therefore, it is forecasted that there will be room for white fish products in the future, including Vietnamese pangasius and basa fish. The average import tariff rate of Korea applied to fresh and chilled pangasius and basa fish (HS 030432) is 11.9% and frozen pangasius is 7.9.%. Currently, the average import prices of pangasius products of Korea range from USD4.4 to USD4.95 / kg (according to ITC's calculations). Pangasius exports to this market might increase in the time to come. However, at present, Korea is still "vague" with Vietnamese pangasius and basa fish products.

Author: Ms Ta Ha /VASEP


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