Global trade in ornamental fish has expanded over time. The USA is one of the top traders in live ornamental fish export and import. This study has analyzed the United States' performance in ornamental fish trade during the COVID-19, compared to the long-term trends. Besides, it has measured the United States' comparative advantage in the ornamental fish trade . Using the Vollrath (1991) approach, it has quantified relative export advantage (RXA), import specialization index (RMA), and relative trade advantage (RTA) of the United States. The study revealed that g lobal trade in ornamental fish has significantly reduced in 2020 due to COVID-19. In 2020, the value of international trade in ornamental fish was US$159.5 million, based on export statistics, or US$194.0 million, based on import statistics. Forty-seven countries/ territories exported live ornamental fish to 63 countries/ territories of the world in 2020. Global exports increased steadily from US$183.7 million in 2001 to a peak of US$379.4 million in 2011, then declined to US$326.2 million in 2019. Global imports increased steadily from US$227.6 million in 2001 to a peak of US$389.4 million in 2006 and gradually declined to US$ US$304.5 million in 2019 . In 2020, compared to 2019, global exports (US$159.5 million ) was 49% lower, and global import (US$ 194.0 million ) declined by 36% . More than 93% of the global export was by ten countries. In 2020, top 10 exporters were: Japan (having 29.1% of global export), Spain (19.0%), Czech Republic (%), United Kingdom (12.4%), Netherlands (11.2%), Germany (8.7%), USA (4.2%), Philippines (1.7%), Colombia (1.6%), and Sweden (1.2%). On the other hand, the top 10 importers in 2020 were the USA (34.6% of global import), United Kingdom (9.2%), Japan (9.1%), Germany (8.3%), Netherlands (6.7%), Hong Kong (4.8%), Canada (3.0%), Spain (2.9%) , Australia (2.8%), and Italy (2.5%). In 2020, compared to 2019, the United States' total export (US$6.7 million) was 33% lower , but total import (US$67.2 million ) was 7% higher. In 2020, the USA was the 7th largest exporter with a market share of 4.2% . It had exported ornamental fish to 48 countries and territories of the world. Major export destinations were Canada (36.4%), Hong Kong (9.6%), Mexico (6.5%), Japan (5.6%), Singapore (5.0%), and Germany (4.8%). Major sources of import were Singapore (15.4%), Indonesia (15.1%), Thailand (14.8%), Sri Lanka (10.5%), Japan (8.5%), and the Philippines (8.4%). A major challenge in the ornamental fish trade is fish health concerns and stringent regulation related to fish trade. The pandemic has increased the risks and biosafety concerns. The United States exporters also face steep competition in price. Attractive fish with an assurance of high-quality certified ornamental fish export comes to the benefit of the United States' exporters.
Keywords: ornamental fish, export, import, comparative advantage, USA.