Vietnam’s shrimp exports are estimated at US$3.5 billion in the 11 months leading up to December with the EU, Japan and China as the three biggest importers.
Exports to China obtained an impressive growth of 60.5% with an estimated value of US$629.26 million, accounting for 18.1% of Vietnam’s total shrimp export value. Meanwhile China’s shrimp imports are on a strong upward trend to meet rising consumer demands for year-end festivals, especially the Lunar New Year.
The trend also pushes shrimp raw material prices up in some neighbouring countries, including Vietnam. With the move, China is likely to surpass Japan to become the second largest consumer of Vietnamese shrimp in the first quarter of next year.
However, Vietnam just ranks eighth among biggest suppliers of shrimp products to China, trailed by Ecuador, Canada, India, Greenland, Thailand, Argentina and Indonesia.
Experts said China’s shrimp imports have kept rising while its exports have declined over the past 10 years. The country is currently among top ten shrimp consumers in the world. It has become an important destination for shrimp exporters, including Vietnam thanks to increasing consumer demand and attractive payment terms.
Chinese importers are deeply penetrating Southeast Asian markets to buy huge volume of shrimps to supply the domestic market. China is also a strong rival of Western importers in terms of shrimp raw material, said an expert.
Seafood is very important in Chinese cuisine. Besides, the rapid growth of the middle class in the 1.38 billion population country also pushes shrimp consumption up. According to statistics, shrimp consumption in China had skyrocketed 123% in 10 years from 2005 to 2015 with 1.6 million tons annually.
Experts also forecast that Chinese shrimp output would drop sharply this year due to diseases and the changing weather. The country has been confronted with 15 storms this year.
Professor James from Florida University forecast that China’s output of white-leg shrimp would fall from 1.7 million tons to 600,000 tons this year.
Since December 1, China has cut down the import duties on frozen shrimp from 5% to 2%, which benefited shrimp exporters, including Vietnam.