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Positive signals for shrimp exports to JapanJapan has agreed to increase the maximum residue limit (MRL) of Ethoxyquin, an antioxidant preservative used in fish meal, in Vietnamese shrimp – a move that will benefit shrimp businesses.

In an announcement dated January 21, the Japan Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare decided to raise Ethoxyquin MRL by 20fold from 0.01ppm (parts per million) to 0.2ppm, and remove regulations on inspections for 100% of shrimp shipments imported from Vietnam.

This demonstrates all-out efforts by Vietnamese management agencies and businesses in controlling Ethoxyquin residue in farmed shrimp.

Japan introduced Ethoxyquin regulations in 2012, putting Vietnamese shrimp exports at a disadvantage. Statistics show the number of Vietnamese shrimp shipments to Japan nosedived from 17 to 4 between 2012 and early 2013.

Shrimp exports to Japan have picked up again since 2013, thanks to Ethoxyquin residue improvements, Thailand’s decreasing supply, and increasing global prices.

Vietnam raked in US$574 million from shipping shrimp to Japan in the first 10 months of 2013, a year-on-year increase of 13%.

Japan Customs reported Vietnam surpassed Thailand to become the world’s largest frozen shrimp supplier in the country in the first nine months of 2013, with 24,806 tonnes, up 8.1% year on year.


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