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Vietnam’s shrimp exporters are concerned by a new South Korean food safety regulations that will test shrimp imports for ethoxyquin for one year.

South KoreSouth Korea’s ethoxyquin standard worries Vietnamese shrimp exportersa’s Animal, Plant and Fisheries Quarantine and Inspection Agency (QIA) said they would impose compulsory testing for Ethoxyquin in Vietnamese shrimp shipments on holding them up to the standard of 0.01 ppm.

The testing will last from January 1 through December 31, 2013.

Last year, South Korea and Australia were regarded as two most favourable markets for Vietnamese shrimp exports, which rose despite a drop in several other major markets.

In 2012, South Korea was Vietnam’s fifth largest shrimp export market, bringing in revenues of USD171.4 million, up 8.8% from the year before. Meanwhile, shrimp exports to other major markets decreased, including those to the EU, which were down 24.5%, as well as the US, down 18.6%.

Many shrimp exporters in Vietnam are worried about increasing difficulties this year, as the country has already faced Ethoxyquin testing imposed by Japan.

According to the General Department of Vietnam Customs, the country took in over USD242.2 million from shrimp exports in the first two months of this year, down 6% from the same period last year.

The US surpassed Japan to take lead in importing Vietnamese shrimp during this two-month period. However, local exporters are aware that shrimp exports to this country would continue to face difficulties due to US anti-dumping measures.

Due to lower demand triggered by economic downturn, the EU fell from third place to become the fourth biggest shrimp importer of Vietnam after China during the period.

Apart from difficulties in the export markets, the Vietnamese shrimp industry is expected to face other challenges, such as unstable supplies. This year there was a mass shrimp die-off in several major breeding areas across the country.

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