Room for exporting sutchi catfish to CPTPP countries


Processing sutchi catfish for export. Photo: CM
Processing sutchi catfish for export. Photo: CM

In the first seven months of 2022, the CPTPP group consumed more than 13% of Vietnam’s total sutchi catfish exports with a value of US$211.4 million, an increase of 73% over the same period in 2021. For sutchi catfish, the market of CPTPP still holds great attraction and has a lot of room for Vietnamese businesses.

Notably, in July 2022, sutchi catfish exports fell to the lowest level since the beginning of the year. However, sutchi catfish exports to CPTPP countries still maintained a 3-digit growth rate, achieving 123% and reaching over US$31 million.

Except for New Zealand, which did not increase imports of Vietnamese sutchi catfish, the rest of the markets increased their imports.

In particular, sutchi catfish exports to Canada increased the most with more than 4 times over the same period last year. It was only after Mexico (accounting for 4.5% with nearly US$73 million), sutchi catfish exports to Canada accounted for 2.5% with over US$40 million in the first seven months of this year.

In addition, sutchi catfish exports to Australia, Singapore, Malaysia and Chile all grew by 3-digits in July, with an increase of 108-166% over the same period. In July, Japan also increased 66% of sutchi catfish imports from Vietnam. These markets all accounted for 1.3 – 1.5% of the total export turnover of Vietnam sutchi catfish in the first seven months of the year.

In general, among CPTPP markets, sutchi catfish exported to Canada still has the highest average price. The average price of frozen sutchi catfish fillets exported to Canada in July reached US$3.34/kg, a slight decline from the average of US$3.66/kg in June.

According to Mrs. Le Hang, Deputy Director of VASEP.PRO Center, from the 4th position in Vietnam’s sutchi catfish import markets in 2021, this year, Mexico has risen to the 3rd position, just behind China and the US. In the first 7 months of 2022, sutchi catfish exports to this market grew by 73%, reaching US$73.5 million, accounting for 4.5% of Vietnam’s sutchi catfish exports.

The data showed that, after a strong increase in the first half of the year, from July 2022, sutchi catfish exports to some key markets such as the US began to slow down because inventories were increasing, consumption also slowed down, fish prices also showed signs of decreasing.

However, sutchi catfish exports to Mexico still maintained a high growth rate in July, rising by more than two times higher than the same period last year, reaching over US$11 million. In the first 7 months of this year, frozen sutchi catfish fillets exported to Mexico accounted for 94% of the value with US$69 million, and sliced ​​sutchi catfish accounted for 6%, reaching US$4.4 million.

Although Mexico is leading in importing Vietnamese sutchi catfish, the average export price to this market in the first 7 months of the year was only US$2.8/kg. Australia is also an attractive market for Vietnamese sutchi catfish businesses with a relatively high average import price, reaching US$3.26/kg in the first six months and US$3.3/kg in July 2022. While the average export price to some markets tended to slow down in July, the export price of sutchi catfish to Singapore increased to US$3.05/kg, after averaging US$2.39/kg in the first six months of the year.

Assessing the advantages of sutchi catfish exports, Mrs. Nguyen Ngo Vi Tam, General Director of Vinh Hoan Joint Stock Company, said that the strength of Vietnam’s sutchi catfish industry was having production and processes that achieved a competitive level with many other types of white fish, ensuring stable supply and very good selling price. Currently, Vietnam has 44 farming areas certified by the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC).

Vietnam also has the advantage of being a country that has an absolute advantage in exporting sutchi catfish, Vietnam’s sutchi catfish output is about 1.5 million tons, accounting for 25% of the total global sutchi catfish production and almost no competitors in farming, processing and exporting.

Consumers and importers are very interested in the farming and processing process. Sutchi catfish enterprises have made efforts to achieve global certifications and effectively expand the market.

According to the analysis of VASEP experts, while seafood exports in general and sutchi catfish in particular to many markets face instability because of currency fluctuations and high freight rates, the CPTPP is less affected by the above challenges. The import tax of 0% under the CPTPP agreement and the choice of consumers to switch to fish that have moderate prices such as sutchi catfish, are the factors that help sutchi catfish exports to CPTPP countries maintain an optimistic growth from the beginning of the year to date and can still maintain good growth momentum in the last months of 2022.


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