The US and EU sanctions on Russian seafood are opening up opportunities for Vietnam’s catfish to fill the gap in these markets.

According to the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP), in 2023, Russia’s exports of pollock reached about 880,000 tons, worth 1.2 billion USD, up 13% in volume and down 5% in value. Pollock is preferred and consumed in many parts of the world and is the main competitor of catfish due to being exploited naturally, cheaply equivalent to farmed catfish.

More opportunities for Vietnam’s catfish exports to the US.

At the end of December 2022, the US extended the ban on Russian seafood for two years, aiming to prevent, and exclude Russian salmon, cod, crab, and pollock products from the US market, even if those products are processed in a third country that changes the origin of the product. This is a serious move by the US in the face of the Russia-Ukraine conflict. By the end of November 2023, the US imported 28,000 tons of pollock, worth 100 million USD, mainly Alaskan Russian pollock processed in China.

Along with the US, Europe has also made moves on Russia’s pollock. Accordingly, in November 2023, the EU decided to impose a 13.7% tax on Russian products such as pollock fillets and cod (which are directly competing with Vietnam’s catfish) including products processed in China but originating from Russia. Previously, these products all enjoyed 0% tax incentives in the EU. The imposition of this tax makes it harder for Russian pollock products to compete in the market. In the context of the demand for white fish in the EU is very high, Vietnamese catfish is expected to fill the gap in the diet of people in the European region.

“Giant markets such as the US or the EU are gradually turning their backs on Russian pollock. As a result, when sanctions are imposed on this product, there is a severe shortage of supply to the market while consumer demand does not decrease. This is an opportunity for Vietnam’s catfish exports to replace wild-caught pollock, ” VASEP said./.

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