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Future of Vietnamese seafood, tra fish exports hangs in balance
Tuesday,  2/12/2019, 17:27 

Future of Vietnamese seafood, tra fish exports hangs in balance

By Trung Chanh

A customer inspects seafood at a supermarket. The future of local seafood and tra fish exports is uncertain – PHOTO: TRUNG CHANH

CAN THO – The United States has yet to issue a final decision approving the quality compatibility of Vietnamese tra fish and the European Commission (EC) has not yet announced a specific schedule for sending a working team to Vietnam to review the country’s efforts to have the yellow card on its seafood products lifted, leaving the future of local seafood and tra fish exports uncertain.

The Directorate for Fisheries of Vietnam, a unit of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, has yet to release any information on when the EC working team will visit the country, said Truong Dinh Hoe, general secretary of the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP), in response to the EC’s visit to consider removing the yellow card warning against the country’s inadequate actions in handling illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.

Earlier, a Directorate for Fisheries representative said in a statement that the EC working team would visit Vietnam in April this year, instead of January as previously scheduled. However, VASEP, which represents local seafood exporters, has received no official information regarding the schedule of the visit.

Meanwhile, Vietnam is still waiting for an official announcement from the United States on whether it is eligible for exporting local tra fish in particular and catfish in general to the United States, said Hoe, though the regulated time for issuing the announcement has expired.

Earlier, the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) under the U.S. Department of Agriculture had asked the Office of the Federal Register to amend the inspection regulations for catfish to list Vietnam as a country eligible for exporting catfish and fish products to the United States, including local tra fish. FSIS invited interested individuals to comment on the proposed rule within 30 days, starting from mid-September last year. The rule was available for public access on the Federal Register website.

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