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Brazil Hits Vietnamese Tra Imports With 35% Tax

Economics +1 more

VIET NAM - Vietnamese tra fish exported to Brazil could be soon hit with a 35 per cent tax after the Brazilian government put the Vietnamese export staple on its special list.

The Viet Nam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP) told the Viet Nam News Agency that the Brazilian Foreign Trade Council (Camex) had decided to put the fish on their special list because of technical assessment problems and the quality of tra fish.

In May, Brazil's National Council for Fisheries and Aquaculture asked its government to curb import of Vietnamese tra fish to protect its fishery industry. It said tra was cheaper than the white fish raised by Brazilian farmers, and that consumers' preference for tra threatened Brazilian farmers and processors.

In mid-August, Brazil's Ministry of Fisheries asked the country's agriculture ministry to include Viet Nam's tra fish in Brazil's Importation Threat Analysis Programme, which would have entailed a temporary ban on the fish.

The ministry said the farming methods for the fish were unsafe and its cultivation in Viet Nam did not meet strict food hygiene and safety standards.

VASEP deputy director Nguyen Huu Dung said the country's tra fish was exported to over 120 countries and territories around the world and met the stringent standards of the EU, Australia, the US and Japan.

These standards included SQF1000 and Good Agricultural Practice.

Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Luong Le Phuong also said the country's tra fish shipments had been subject to international hazard analysis for years. In addition, authorities enforced critical control point standards while local quality assurance agencies carried out other screening processes.

Brazil is not a big importer of Viet Nam's tra fish, but operates a gateway for many other South American markets. In the first half of this year, Brazil imported over 5,800 tonnes of tra fish from Viet Nam, worth nearly US$12 million.

This is not the first time misinformation has been spread about Viet Nam's tra fish. Since 2007, many of Viet Nam's foreign seafood markets have made inaccurate claims about the fish to protect their domestic fisheries. Egypt, Italy, France, Belgium, the US, Germany, Spain, Ukraine and Russia spread misinformation about the quality of Viet Nam's tra fish, which makes up 32 per cent of the fisheries industry's total export turnover. However, these markets resumed import after Viet Nam demonstrated good farming methods and fish quality.

Recently, the World Wildlife Fund also agreed to immediately remove Viet Nam's tra fish from the red list of its consumer guidance manual. It had previously recommended that consumers choose a species from its green list.

Viet Nam exported 538,201 tonnes of tra fish in the first 10 months of this year, fetching nearly $1.2 billion. This year's export turnover is expected to reach $1.4 billion.