(seafood.vasep.com.vn) Recently, Saudi Arabia increases imports of canned tuna. However, Saudi Arabia requires higher quality compared to other markets in the Middle East. The country stays as the second largest tuna importer in the region and is a potential importing market of some suppliers such as Thailand and Indonesia and Vietnam.
Out of tuna products, imports of canned tuna (HS code 16) into Saudi Arabia takes up the biggest proportion of over 96% in total tuna import volume into this country. The most popular canned tuna items in Saudi Arabia are solid tuna, which accounted for 72% of total volume, followed by tuna flakes with 11.5% and value-added tuna with 2.2%.
Saudi Arabia currently imports tuna from 21 countries around the world. Thailand, Indonesia, Italy, Oman, Yemen, the Philippines, Spain, Japan, China and Vietnam are top 10 leading suppliers to this market, accounting for 99% of total tuna imports.
In terms of regional availability, ASEAN countries are the main supplier of tuna to this market, accounting for over 85% of the total import volume into Saudi Arabia. The import volume of tuna from ASEAN into the country ranges from 22 to 33 thousand MT.
Currently in ASEAN, Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam are to 4 biggest exporters to this market. Of that, imports from Vietnam pick up the share of 1%.
According to the statistics from Vietnam customs, Vietnam's tuna exports to Saudi Arabia in the first 7 months of 2017 valued at US$730 thousand, accounting for 0.23% of Vietnam’s total tuna exports. However, compared with the same period in 2016, Vietnam’s tuna sales to the country in the period posted the impressive growth of 1.274%.
In the coming time, despite the competition from Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines in this market, Saudi Arabia expected to continue being a potential importer of Vietnam tuna.