Thailand now world’s 2nd largest exporter of canned/processed fish
Thailand has emerged as the world’s second-largest exporter of canned fish and processed fish products, after China, and the top exporter in Asean.
The expansion is being driven by free trade agreements (FTAs) with countries such as Japan, Chile, Peru, China, the Commerce Ministry said.
Total exports of canned fish and processed fish were worth US$1.14 billion (39.6 billion baht) in the first five months (January-May) of this year. Meanwhile, the value of exports to FTA markets was U$351.7 million, showing a 15.7% expansion on the same period last year. FTA markets that experienced continuous growth included Japan (up 22.7%), Chile (96.7%), Peru (183.1%), China (25.7%), Cambodia (11.9%), and the Philippines (138.1%).
Exports of canned fish and processed fish products to FTA markets in all categories increased. This includes canned tuna, which grew by 17.2% and accounted for 51.6% of the total export value to FTA markets. Other exports that rose include cooked carrageenan fish, cooked salmon, sardines, and mackerel, which increased by 18.2% and accounted for 32.6% of total export value to FTA markets. Canned sardines saw 8.4% growth, accounting for 4.6% of the total FTA export value. Other canned fish products increased by 6.2%, accounting for 11.1% of FTA export value.
Key export markets for Thailand include Japan, Australia, Chile, and South Korea.
Thailand currently has FTAs with 18 trading partners, 15 of which are in Asean, China, Australia, New Zealand, Chile, and Hong Kong. All have eliminated import duties on Thai canned fish and processed fish except for Japan, South Korea, and India, which still impose import duties on certain products.
Japan imposes a 5% import duty on canned sardines, mackerel, and fish roe. South Korea imposes 16% on canned sardines, 20% on canned tuna (both in oil and cooked), and 30% on fish paste. However, under the RCEP trade deal, South Korea will gradually reduce import duties on cooked canned tuna to zero by 2036.
Auramon Supthaweethum, the ministry’s Trade Negotiations Department director-general, said Thai businesses should take advantage of the FTAs to expand to foreign markets where demand is rising.