In the first six months of 2012, out of main exported seafood products from Vietnam, exports of tuna products witnessed the highest year-on-year growth of 38.5 percent although tuna only made up 10 percent of total export value.
Through June 2012, tuna exports reached US$286 million, in which raw tuna (HS 03 code) exports gained US$188 million, up 33.6 percent (accounting for 70 percent of total tuna export); processed tuna (HS 16 code) shipment touched US$98 million, up 49 percent year-on-year. In June 2012 alone, raw tuna exports marked triple digit growth of 165.2 percent while processed tuna exports, mostly canned tuna, only rose by 22.5 percent year-on-year.
Italy is the second largest market in tuna import value from Vietnam in EU with over US$13 million, up 123.7 percent year-on-year. Although tuna import value in June is lower than that of May, Italy is one of markets reporting the sharpest growth in tuna import from Vietnam (374.8 percent). The market reporting the highest growth rate in tuna consumption among EU importers in Jan-Jun 2012. In two recent years, Vietnam tuna exports to Italy tended to rise in value. For the year to date, tuna exports to Italy got double or triple digit growth in consecutive months, only except for March, export value fell by 43.5 percent over that of the same period of 2011.
Italy imported mainly frozen raw tuna from Vietnam accounting for 97.5 percent of total tuna exports to the market and touching US$12.7 million, up 118 percent year-on-year. Canned tuna exports made up a small proportion of 2.5 percent with US$326.4 thousand.
Consumption of fresh fish in Italy reduced by 6 percent while consumption of frozen fish rose by 5 percent because the price of frozen fish is lower than that of fresh fish sold in the country. Therefore, the price is one of the main factors affecting to Italian consumers’ choice.
Canned tuna plays an important role in Italian fish processing industry, however, the industry is getting worse. Domestic large Italian processors are switching to invest into foreign countries where the supply of raw fish is plentiful and labor cost is lower. Because of hiking production cost and dwindling tuna catch, Italy must import a large amount of canned tuna from other countries to meet the domestic demand. Italy carried out labeling on seafood products to distinguish domestic products from imported products in order to promote and raise the value of domestic products.
Italy also applies policies on preserving and restoring dwindling tuna stock under European Common Fisheries Policy. So strengthening to import fish is still an effective solution to balance fish supply-demand in the domestic market.
The price of exported fish to Italia is lower than that of some other markets, the market is considered as an important importer of Vietnam tuna. Exports of tuna to Italy are expected to grow positively in the last months of 2012.