(seafood.vasep.com.vn) In 2018, Vietnamese tuna exports to the US decreased continuously in the first half of the year. By contrast, in 2019, tuna exports to this market grew steadily. Tuna export value to this market in the first 6 months of 2019 climbed by 61% over the same period in 2018, reaching US$159 million.
The most exported products to the US market were frozen loin/fillets tuna (HS code 0304), accounting for 62%. At the same time, exports also climbed sharply by nearly 58% over the same period in 2018, reaching to US$99 million. Canned tuna accounted for the second largest proportion at 23%, reaching a turnover of US$37 million, up 37%. The third most exported product was other processed tuna, accounting for 14%, also up strongly by 179% with US$22 million, mainly skipjack and steamed yellowfin tuna loin.
According to the statistics of the World Trade Center, the demand for US tuna imports increased by 5.6% in the first 4 months of 2019. Of which, canned tuna imports still accounted for the highest proportion of the total tuna import value of the US at 58%. However compared to the same period in 2018, this product line declined by 2%. US imports of frozen tuna loin/fillet products accounted for the second largest proportion, accounting for 23% and tended to increase, up 30% over the same period in 2018.
In the market segment of frozen tuna filets/loin, Vietnam is currently the second supplier for the US market, accounting for 31%, after Indonesia at 44%. Followed by Philippines at 7%, Taiwan at 2.9% and Canada at 2.8%. In general, at the beginning of this year, the US has tended to increase imports of this product line from other suppliers.
Meanwhile, in the segment of processed and canned tuna products, Vietnam ranked third, accounting for 9.5% of market share, after Thailand (46%) and Ecuador (14%). In the first 4 months of this year, the US declined 2.4% of processed tuna import value, of which imports from Thailand went down by 3.3%, while still sharply increasing imports from Ecuador and Vietnam.
Besides, in the past 2 years, the US has tended to increase imports of tuna family products, of which China was the largest exporter of tuna family products to the US. In the first quarter of 2019, the US imported only 1,304 tons from China, equal to one third of the total import volume compared to the same period in 2018.
This decline was likely due to the China - US trade war, as the tax rate for these items from China has increased from 4% to 10%. However, the prices of these products were still significantly lower than that of skipjack tuna, yellowfin tuna, or traditional longfin tuna, which were subjected to 12.5% of tax rate.
However, from 12:01 am on May 10, 2019, the US officially imposed a new import tax rate, increasing from 10% to 25%, for tuna products from China. This has reduced the competitiveness of Chinese tuna family products in the US market. US companies, therefor, will move to Thailand and Vietnam to find frozen tuna loin suppliers.