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NEWS UPDATES 16 September 2010

US tariffs upset Vietnamese seafood exporters

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Seafood exporters say they will take action if the US imposes new anti-dumping tariffs on products of some Vietnamese seafood exporters.

Exporters made their views known on Tuesday at the office of the Viet Nam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP) in HCM City after the US Department of Commerce (DOC) unofficially said the anti-dumping tariffs on Vietnamese tra fish could reach US$4.22 per kilo, equalling 130 percent of the selling price of the Vietnamese tra fish in the US market.

Although VASEP had been informed of the news, the association's general secretary, Truong Dinh Hoe, said: "We absolutely oppose the (preliminary) decision made by the DOC in its last review of its tariffs."

Hoe said in the last review, the DOC used the Philippines, instead of Bangladesh, as the third-country market to determine the dumping tariff margins for Vietnamese tra fish, thus causing the tariffs to rise.

Hoe said that the comparison of tra fish product prices in the Philippines and Viet Nam was inappropriate as fish feed in the latter was priced $0.5 per kilogramme compared with $2 per kilogramme for the former.

He added that production and management costs in the Philippines were also much higher than in Viet Nam.

"It's not reasonable to impose the figures collected from 36 breeding ponds with a total of 12 tonnes per year in the Philippines with the breeding farms totalling 1 million tonnes of tra fish in Viet Nam," said Hoe.

Duong Ngoc Minh, deputy chairman of VASEP, said the association should prove that imposing such sky-high anti-dumping tariffs on Vietnamese tra fish would not only damage Viet Nam's tra fish production but also cause losses for American customers.

He said the growing popularity of tra fish in the American market had resulted in the Catfish Farmers of America (CFA) lobbying against Vietnamese tra fish.

Andrew Schroth, attorney with Grunfeld, Desiderio, Lebowitz, Silverman & Klestadt LLP (the US), who has advised Vietnamese tra fish exporters on the anti-dumping case, said VASEP should consider all available options in the Phillippines to prove that using the Philippines as a third country as the benchmark was not appropriate.

In the first quarter of this year, the American market imported 12,000 tonnes of tra fish products from Viet Nam, a 2.5-fold increase over the same period last year.

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