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EU crowned as largest importer of Vietnamese seafood

The European Union has beaten out the US and Japan to become Viet Nam's largest seafood importer, accounting for 24.4 percent of Viet Nam's total seafood exports.

In the past eight months, Viet Nam shipped 175,400 tonnes of seafood to the EU at a cost of 586 million USD, increases of 24.5 percent and 29.2 percent, respectively, over the same period last year.

On the rises in both volume and export value of seafood , Nguyen Viet Manh, Deputy Head of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development's International Cooperation Department, said confidently "I predict that the EU will continue to remain as the biggest importer of Vietnamese seafood".

Vietnamese seafood has so far made its presence felt in 26 out of the 27 EU member countries.

The Association of Seafood Exporters and Processors said products from "tra" and 'basa" catfish are the most favoured by EU consumers, citing the 167 percent growth rate of catfish.

In the past eight months, the EU imported around 112,000 tonnes of 'tra' and 'basa' products valued at 312 million USD from Viet Nam .

Former Ambassador and Head of the European Commission Delegation to Viet Nam Markus Cornaro said "many Europeans prefer Vietnamese seafood" at his last press briefing during his working term in Viet Nam.

Apart from 'tra' and 'basa' products, Europeans also consume shrimp and molluscs imported from Viet Nam , said the EC official.

To increase the quality of products to meet the strict requirements of the EU market, Vietnamese seafood processors have invested heavily in renewing technologies, while closely monitoring the operation of raw material suppliers.

At present, only 0.1 percent of Vietnamese seafood is placed under warnings by the EU, 10 times less than the 1 percent in 2005.

Close to 245 Vietnamese businesses are currently qualified to export products to the EU and 25 others are waiting for licenses from the market.

This year, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development is set to rake in seafood export earnings of 3.6 billion USD, 300 million USD higher than last yea's turnover. (VNA)

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