Anti-dumping taxes on Vietnamese tra fish unfair: VASEP

Vietnamese exporters haven’t dumped tra fish onto the US market and the imposition of new anti-dumping tariffs on tra imports from Vietnam is not fair, said the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters (VASEP) at a meeting on September 14.

Farmers raise tra for export in a southern province (Photo: SGGP)

The United States Department of Commerce (DOC) has said unofficially that the anti-dumping tariffs for products of certain Vietnamese seafood exporters might reach 136 percent.
 
In a review of the tariffs, DOC used the Philippines at the third-country market to determine dumping margins for Vietnamese tra fish, instead of Bangladesh, thus leading the tariffs to rise.
 
Truong Dinh Hoe, VASEP general secretary, said normally, to investigate the dumping of a product imported from a country which the US hasn’t recognized as a non-market economy like Vietnam, DOC will compare the cost price of the product made in a third country with the sale price of the product in the US.
 
It is not fair to choose the Philippines because foodstuff for fish costs about US$0.5 per kilogram in Vietnam, while it is nearly US$2 per kilogram in the Philippines. In addition, labor and business management cost is higher than in Vietnam, he added.
 
Mr. Hoe said DOC has get figures from only 36 fish ponds with a production of 12 tons in the Philippines, while farms in Vietnam have a production of over one million tons.
 
At present, the Philippines can produce only 40,000 tons per year, which are not enough for local consumption, he added.
 
He said using a retail price from the Philippines that is, in many aspects, far different from Vietnam as the standard to compare and impose anti-dumping duties is not accurate and fair.
 
According to Andrew B. Schroth, lawyer from the Grunfeld, Desiderio, Lebowitz, Silverman & Klestadt LLP who has advised tra fish exporters on the anti-dumping case, said that if DOC takes this decision, it could be seen punitive rather than variable from the last time.
 
DOC has made a preliminary decision on imposing anti-dumping tariffs on tra fish imported from Vietnam into the American market from August 1, 2008 to July 31, 2009 because it had faced pressure from the United States Catfish Association.
 
He said, “Though the final rates will not be released until six months later, related sides must work very hard in order to divert the decision.”
 
The possible measures which Vietnam should take, he said, include using all available channels in the Philippines, both legal and political, to prove that the choice of the Philippines as a third country to consider as the benchmark is not at all appropriate.

The US National Fisheries Institute (NFI) said there were untapped opportunities in the US market for Vietnamese seafood exporters because fish was listed in the top 10 of the most consumed seafood products in the US in 2009.

Several Vietnamese fish farms have received Global GAP (Good Agricultural Practice) certifications, which has created a foundation for Vietnamese seafood exporters to expand their outlets.

Duong Ngoc Minh, chairman of Hung Vuong Seafood Company, said despite of the global economic crisis, the country’s tra exports soared sharply in 2010. Tra exports exceed US$1 billion in the first nine months, and are expected to reach US$1.5 this year.

According to regulations, DOC makes an annual decision on whether to increase or reduce anti-dumping taxes for Vietnamese businesses.

In the previous anti-dumping review, a majority of Vietnamese exporters enjoyed the lowest tariff of 0.52 percent and some were even recognized as not dumping the fish on the American market.

The anti-dumping tariffs for Vietnamese tra exports to the US have impacted on the local industry since 2003.

By staff writers – Translated by Tu Duyen

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