The Middle East is Vietnam’s fourth largest tuna export market after the US, EU, and CPTPP, accounting for nearly 10% of total export turnover.

According to the General Department of Customs, Vietnam’s tuna exports to the Middle East in 2023 decreased by 130%, reaching 82 million USD. The Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers said that in 2023, tuna exports to the Middle East were unstable, tending to decrease compared to 2022.

Economic uncertainties and the war between Israel and Hamas in 2023 have affected the export of seafood in general and tuna in particular to this market. Vietnam’s tuna exports to the Middle East have continuously declined month by month since the beginning of the year. It was only until November 2023 that tuna exports to this market tended to recover.

The Middle East is Vietnam’s fourth-largest tuna export market.

Vietnam’s tuna exports to some markets in the Middle East recorded an increase over the same period in 2022 such as Israel (up 37%), Lebanon (up 17%), UAE (up 23%), and Turkey (up 73%). Meanwhile, exports to other markets dropped sharply such as Egypt (down 47%), and Saudi Arabia (down 78%).

Currently, the Middle East is the fourth-largest export market of Vietnam’s tuna after the US, EU, and CPTPP, accounting for nearly 10% of total tuna export turnover. In recent years, facing many challenges from major consumption markets, Vietnamese tuna enterprises have looked to smaller but potential markets such as the Middle East to diversify export markets.

However, this area has high requirements for imported food products such as Halal certification. The supplier needs to process and pack under this standard.

According to recent information from the Vietnam Trade Office in Saudi Arabia, the Saudi Food and Drug Authority (SFDA) has sent a document to the leaders of the Federation of Chambers of Commerce, Riyadh Chamber of Commerce, Jeddah, Dammam about some food products exported to Saudi Arabia with Halal certificates but the agency issuing these certificates is not on the list approved or authorized by SFDA.

Therefore, seafood exporters to the Saudi market need to comply with the Halal certification regulations and access the Halal certificate of the SFDA-authorized entity to avoid being detained or returned./.