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Middle East: the fourth largest importer of Vietnamese tuna

VIETNAM, February 14 - HÀ NỘI The Middle East has become the fourth largest importer of Vietnamese tuna, behind only the US, the EU, and the CPTPP market, accounting for nearly 10 per cent of Việt Nam’s total tuna export turnover, the Việt Nam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP) has said.

Statistics from the General Department of Customs showed that Việt Nam last year exported US$82 million worth of tuna to the bloc.

Vietnamese tuna exports to several markets throughout the Middle East region recorded a considerable surge in 2023 compared to the previous year.

Specifically, tuna exports to Israel, Lebanon, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Turkey climbed by 37 per cent, 17 per cent, 23 per cent, and 73 per cent, respectively.

Exports to other markets in the bloc saw a strong decline including Egypt, down 47 per cent, and Saudi Arabia, down 78 per cent.

In recent years, facing many challenges from main consumer markets, Vietnamese tuna businesses have looked to smaller but markets with potential such as the Middle East to diversify export markets.

But the bloc also sets forth high requirements for imported food products, including Halal certification, forcing local firms to process and package appropriately to meet these requirements.

Last year, Vietnamese tuna exports hit $845 million, a year-on-year decrease of 17 per cent, according to VASEP.

In December alone, however, the exports recorded a slight increase of 7 per cent year-on-year to $73 million, it said.

Vietnamese's tuna products are being shipped to 99 markets around the world.— VNS