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Russia refuses to import tra fish from 4 Vietnamese companies

VIET NAM - According to the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP): Russia has refused to import seafood from two Chinese and four Vietnamese companies after Russian agencies examined imported tra fish samples.

After several consignments of seafood were refused to be imported, Russian authorities asked Chinese authorities to launch an investigation of bacteria-infected exports.

However, Head of the National Fisheries Quality and Veterinary Directorate (Nafiqaved) Nguyen Tu Cuong, said that Nafiqaved, as the agency in charge of controlling the quality of export seafood products, had not received any inform from Russian authorities. Nafiqaved will check the information and make public the names of the Vietnamese enterprises that exported the bacteria-infected products.

Prior to that, Russian Federal Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance Services (VPSS) came to Vietnam to examine fishing ports, fish markets, aquaculture and seafood processing establishments, to find out if Vietnamese aquaculture and seafood processing establishments followed their requirements on food hygiene.

In mid January 2007, Deputy Minister of Fisheries Nguyen Thi Hong Minh signed a decision, requesting Vietnamese seafood exporters to have certificates of food hygiene for products to be exported to Russia. The decision was made at the request of the Russian side.

Under the decision, from January 15, in addition to the certificate under the form provided by VPSS, the exporters of seafood products to Russia must present documents showing that their processing establishments can meet the strict requirements on food hygiene.

As for the exporters that do not have processing workshops, their products will be allowed to be exported to Russia only if their products are processed in establishments that have certificates on food hygiene. Moreover, all seafood exporters must follow the requirements by Nafiqaved in labelling and coding export consignments.

In 2006, Vietnam exported 58,705 tonnes of seafood to Russia, worth $126.3mil, an increase of 347% in quantity and 275% in value compared to 2005.