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Thai Shrimpers Cry Foul Over Viet Nam

THAILAND - Thai traders are complaining that Viet Nam is buying up low-priced shrimp from Thailand for re-export.

Bunjonk Nissapawanich, president of the Thai Eastern Shrimp Association, said the continuous decline in shrimp prices has hurt Thai farmers while benefiting Vietnamese shrimp exports, reports BangkokPost.

Thai Frozen Foods Association statistics show 2,860 tonnes of shrimp from Thailand - fresh, chilled, frozen and prepared items - were exported to Vietnam in the first four months of 2012, up by 302 per cent year-on-year.

They were valued at 681 million baht, up by 372 per cent.

Mr Bunjonk attributed the growth to low shrimp prices, which have been falling continuously from 166 baht or 50 heads a kilogramme early this year to an average of 133 baht in April and 122 baht this month, year-on-year drops of 19 per cent and 26 per cent, respectively.

Shrimp is an export-oriented industry, as 90 per cent of the 600,000 tonnes produced annually are shipped abroad.

The US, the biggest market for Thai shrimp, imported 29,426 tonnes from Thailand in the first four months, down by 31 per cent year-on-year, worth 8.5 billion baht, down by 27 per cent.

Shipments to Europe totalled 14,191 tonnes, down by 12.3 per cent year-on-year, worth four billion baht, down by 0.87 per cent.

He did not provide figures, but the Viet Nam Daily Magazine reported Vietnamese shrimp exports to Japan, the country's main market, increased by 12 per cent year-on-year in January and February.

Vietnamese shrimp exporters garnered US$600 million from the Japanese market last year, 25.3 per cent of their export revenue.

Lucy Towers

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