Egypt - the potential market for Vietnamese seafood (30-09-2016)

Due to the shortage in domestic seafood supply, Egypt imports about 400-500 thousand tons of seafood annually with import turnover of roughly US$500-600 million dollars.
Egypt - the potential market for Vietnamese seafood

With a population of 91 million people, Egypt’s demand for seafood in recent years has been at around 1.8-2 million tons/year and continuing growing due to high population growth rate of 2.4% / year and the trend to increase seafood consumption due to its benefit to the health.

Besides, prices of poultry meat increases also contributed to increasing demand for seafood. The Egypt’s total seafood production (mainly fish) reached US$$ 1.5 billion, contributing about 8% of the total agricultural output of Egypt. Approximately 56% of domestic seafood supply comes from the Nile River, 29% and 15% from the lake and the sea, respectively.

Currently, Egypt mainly imported mackerel (200 thousand tons), sardines (60,000 tons), herring (50,000 tons), silver smelt (25,000 tons), silver hake (17,000 tons), catfish (15,000 tons), shrimp, bivalve, etc. The seafood suppliers to Egypt are the Netherlands, Germany, USA, Norway, Morocco, Thailand and Vietnam.

According to statistics of the General Department of Vietnam Customs, in the period 2012 – 2015, Viet Nam’s seafood exports to the Egypt saw a volatile due to the impact of the political crisis. Vietnam’s seafood export to Egypt reached US$79.5 million in 2012, US$57.2 million in 2013; US$71.7 million in 2014 and US$ 64.2 million in 2015. Particularly in the first 8 months of 2016, seafood export value was estimated at US$30.68 million, down 30.5% from the same period last year. The decline was attributable to several reasons such as a shortage in foreign currency of Egypt; devaluation of the Egyptian pound and the devaluation of currency of some other main suppliers (for shrimp).

Group of seafood export items to the Egyptian market focused on pangasius fillet (HS 03 and HS16), accounted for 61-70% of total import turnover; frozen white-legged shrimp (HS 03 & HS16) representing from 27 - 35% of total import turnover and a small amount of canned tuna and mollusks.

For imported seafood, Egypt only allowed seafood products with using time of 6 months. Frozen seafood imports will be closely examined with multiple criteria such as radioactive substances, toxins, bacteria, heavy metals. In the current period of time, due to not being in the list of the essential commodities priority for import, Egyptian seafood importers were not given priority to buy foreign currency to make payment for seafood imports.

Regarding import tariffs, Egypt is currently imposing tax from 5% to 40% on seafood products. Exceptionally, tax for items code HS03.03 and 03.04 are exempted when importing into this country.

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