In Q1/2024, the export of pangasius to the UAE market increased by 67%.

In the first quarter of 2024, Vietnam’s pangasius exports to the UAE market soared to over USD 7 million, marking a 67% increase compared to the same period last year.

According to the General Department of Customs, March 2024 saw Vietnam export more than USD 2 million worth of pangasius to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), a 62% increase compared to March of the previous year. The cumulative export value of pangasius for the first three months reached over USD 7 million, up 67% from last year.

Illustrating photo - Fatifishco
Illustrating photo – Fatifishco


Earlier in the year, the UAE market nearly tripled its import of Vietnamese pangasius, with close to USD 4 million in January alone. However, the following month saw a sudden 31% drop in export value, totaling just over USD 1.2 million.

The Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers reports that the UAE primarily imports frozen pangasius fillets, HS code 0304, from Vietnam. In March 2024, imports exceeded USD 2 million, a 51% increase from March 2023 and an 81% increase from the preceding month, despite a 33% decrease from January 2024. This product accounts for 93% of the total pangasius exports from Vietnam to the UAE.

For Q1/2024, the UAE imported nearly USD 7 million worth of Vietnamese frozen pangasius fillets, a 56% increase over the previous year. Additionally, in the first three months of 2024, the UAE also imported fresh/frozen/dried pangasius (under HS code 03) and value-added pangasius, with values of USD 517,000 and USD 152,000 respectively, marking a 15-fold increase and a 62% increase over the same period in 2023.

Notably, in March of the past two years since 2022, the UAE market had almost ceased consumption of frozen pangasius and value-added products from Vietnam. However, in March 2024, the UAE resumed imports of these two products, valued at USD 79,000 and USD 75,000 respectively.

The UAE is a net importer of seafood, with 90% of its food consumption coming from imports. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the UAE consumes over 220,000 tons of seafood annually, with an average per capita seafood consumption of 28.6 kg/year, higher than the global average.

The prospects for pangasius exports to this region remain strong as the UAE’s population continues to grow, with high income levels and rapid urbanization. Increased disposable income and the younger generation’s preference for seafood protein, coupled with tourism forecasts, are expected to drive higher seafood consumption. Furthermore, the Central Bank of UAE has raised its economic growth forecast for 2024 to 5.7%, up from the previous 4.3%.

Additionally, the UAE’s tourism and travel industry is expected to create an additional 23,600 jobs in 2024, reaching a total of approximately 833,000 jobs for the year. Geopolitical tensions between Israel and Iran have not diminished the global demand for travel to the region. The development of tourism, along with related services such as restaurants and dining, is set to benefit the seafood export industry, including pangasius, allowing for deeper market penetration.

Source: Bao Cong Thuong

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