AUSTRALIA has lifted the ban it imposed in January on importing uncooked Vietnamese shrimp products. Vietnamese companies may resume importing raw prawns caught in Australia for processing and export them to Australia for consumption. The decision was made after the Australian Department of Agriculture and Water Resources received written confirmation by the National Agro-Forestry-Fisheries Quality Assurance Department under Vietnam’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development that “it can meet conditions included in the updated health certificate.”
This has helped lift the temporary ban made by Australia in January on shrimp exports from Asian countries, including Vietnam, on worries about the white spot outbreak in Australia. In February, the department loosened the ban on dried prawns, shelf-stable prawn-based food products and other products caught from the exclusive economic zone of Australia as the risk of white spot virus outbreak was low on these products. In May, Vietnam’s ministries of Industry and Trade and Agriculture and Rural Development urged Australian agencies to consider lifting the ban on Vietnamese shrimp imports, reporting the damage to Vietnam’s shrimp exports to Australia. According to the Vietnam Trade Office in Australia, this is the seventh-largest prawn market for Vietnam, accounting for 3.6 percent of Vietnam’s total shrimp exports.
In 2016, Vietnam exported $US114.6 million worth of shrimp products to Australia, of which processed shrimp made up 78 percent of the total. In the past five years, Vietnam has been the biggest shrimp product supplier to Australia and demand for prawn products in the country is forecast to rise. In addition, Australia focuses on importing products from main suppliers, a major advantage for its top shrimp providers, including Vietnam.