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Vietnam sees potential in Canadian shrimp market. Canada is currently the sixth largest shrimp importer of Vietnam, accounting for 4.3% of the total export value of Vietnamese shrimp to markets, according to the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers. In recent years, Vietnamese shrimp exports to Canada have grown unsteadily. Notwithstanding, Canada is still considered as a potential market of Vietnamese shrimp.

From 2016 to 2018, Vietnamese shrimp exports to Canada grew continuously from US $122.5 million in 2016 to US $161.6 million in 2018. In the first 9 months of 2019, shrimp exports to Canada reached US $ 105.3 million, down 7% over the same period in 2018. As of September 2019, Vietnamese shrimp exports to Canada grew positively in January, April and July and decreased in the remaining months.

In the structure of Vietnamese shrimp products exported to Canada, the proportion of whiteleg shrimp is increasing. Canadian consumers prefer processed shrimp products and the popular product in the Canadian market is steamed whole shrimp (shell on).

Currently, Canada consumed a lot of warmwater shrimp of Southeast Asian countries in the context of declining supply of coldwater shrimp. Recent reports expect coldwater shrimp production in Canada will drop sharply in 2019 as shrimp biomass surveys at Canadian fishing grounds show poor results. The volume of coldwater shrimp imports into Canada has also been declining.

According to the International Trade Centre (ITC), Canada’s shrimp imports in 2018 and the first quarter of 2019 decreased compared to the same period. Vietnam is still the largest shrimp supplier to this market, accounting for 30.3% market share in Canada. India and China ranked second and third respectively with 26.3% and 16.9% of market share.

Frozen warm water shrimp and processed shrimp has a strong foothold in the Canadian market. Earlier 2019, the CPTPP Agreement came into effect for Vietnam, of which both Vietnam and Canada are members. Previously, Canada’s tariff authorizes preferential (MFN) rate for seafood products of Vietnam including shrimp was 4-5%. However, under the CPTPP commitment, the tax rate for these items has decreased currently to 0%. This is also an opportunity for Vietnamese shrimp businesses to harness the Canadian market as Vietnamese competitors in this market such as India, Thailand and Indonesia did not participate in this agreement.

The Government of Canada is in need of diversifying markets, reducing dependence on imports from the US. Meanwhile, Vietnam is one of the countries where Canadian businesses are interested in promoting import and export activities.

Canada is a market that customers willing to pay for high-value products. This is also an important bridge for Vietnamese businesses to expand their markets to other American countries. Enterprises need to carefully study the market, focusing on factors of price, design and quality to improve the competitiveness of Vietnamese shrimp products on the Canadian market.