The Chinese authorities have decided to prohibit importing fresh shrimp from Vietnam for three reasons.

Firstly, Chinese agencies have doubts that Vietnam’s shrimp bears viruses that may cause hazardous diseases.

Secondly, the certificates on Vietnam’s exports do not come in accordance with the procedures required by China.

Thirdly, Vietnam still has not provided the list of the shrimp culture, processing enterprises to China.

Information still unclear

The enterprises which specialize in exporting shrimp products to the Chinese market said they do not know what kinds of shrimp are refused by the Chinese side and if these include the shrimp materials used for processing.

Tran Thien Hai, Chair of the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP), has affirmed that the Chinese side has prohibited fresh shrimp only, not the shrimp material used by the seafood companies for processing.

However, the information still has caused shocks to the enterprises making products for export to China. Why does China come to the conclusion that Vietnam’s fresh shrimp bears hazardous viruses while it does not clarify what kinds of viruses are and how the viruses affect human health.

Tran Van Trung, Director of Anh Khoa Company in the southern province of Ca Mau which has been exporting shrimp to China for the last many years, said he has been worried stiff about the Chinese ban, because this is its biggest export market.

However, Trung said he is really surprised when hearing about the accusation. “If the fresh shrimp actually bear viruses as the Chinese side said, the processed shrimp products would also be prohibited to enter the market,” he said.

“Meanwhile, there has been no information from our partners and management agencies abut the issue,” Trung said.

However, some other seafood companies still keep calm, believing that the situation is not really worrying. Nguyen Tan Anh, Deputy General Director of the Minh Phu Seafood Company said every cloud has a silver lining.

Currently, seafood companies are seriously lacking materials for processing, thus forcing them to compete fiercely to scramble for materials from farmers. The situation is believed to be improved in the time to come.

Vietnam should require an official answer in written documents from China

Tran Van Linh, General Director of the Thuan Phuoc Seafood Export Company in Da Nang City, said it’s necessary to analyze the information about the quality of Vietnam’s shrimp.

Vietnam should take actions to protect its shrimp industry and its Vietnamese shrimp brands in the international markets.

According to Tan Anh, if fresh shrimp is thought to be infected with hazardous viruses, processed products would also bear viruses. Meanwhile, the foreign importers which consume Vietnam’s shrimp have had no complaints about the quality so far.

“The Chinese side needs to send a notice to Vietnam in written documents to clarify the issue as required by the quarantine procedures agreed before by the two sides,” said Nguyen Huu Dung from VASEP.

VietnamNet Bridge - November 17, 2012