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NEWS UPDATES 25 April 2010

Vietnam asks WTO to probe US shrimp duties

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For the first time since Vietnam officially joined the World Trade Organisation in 2007, the country has requested that the organisation's Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) establish a panel to resolve a conflict on US-imposed anti-dumping measures on certain shrimp shipped from Vietnam, local news agency VNS reported.

Nguyen Chi Mai, director of the anti-dumping, anti-subsidy and trade safeguard of Competition Administration Department, under the Vietnamese Ministry of Industry and Trade, told Viet Nam News yesterday, "We have a solid foundation to believe that we can pull it off, because many countries have filed similar cases on various products, and they have already succeeded."

These countries included Thailand, the EU, Japan, Canada, Equador and India, she said.

Addressing the DSB meeting on Tuesday, the permanent representative of Viet Nam to the United Nations Office, the WTO and other international organisations in Geneva, ambassador Vu Dung, said that Viet Nam had taken this action only after careful deliberation and consultation with the US.

"The key issue involved in our request for a panel is the ‘zeroing practice', specifically zeroing in periodic reviews under US law. In our view, this issue was decided already by WTO panels and the Appellate Body on many cases," he said.

"Yet, the US has failed to implement the reports of the Appellate Body and has continued to apply zeroing in administrative reviews, including zeroing practices imposed on Vietnamese products," he added.

"Zeroing" refers to a practice that treats all non-dumped sales as having a dumping margin of zero rather than a negative, thereby preventing non-dumped sales from offsetting dumped sales.

"Zeroing has proven to be an unfair practice for Vietnamese firms and it violates the rules of the WTO," Mai said.

Despite the fact that the US had found no margins of dumping in the first, second or third reviews of the companies specifically being investigated, it had continued to assign margins of dumping to companies not investigated despite their requests to be investigated, Dung said.

Vietnam and the US held consultations on the case on March 23 in Geneva with the hope of reaching a mutually satisfactory solution. The parties at the consultations gained a better understanding of the issue, but did not reach a solution in the matter. "Consequently, Viet Nam has no choice but to bring the issue to a panel," Dung said.

However, Mai said, "It is better for the two sides to continue negotiating and to reach a reasonable solution."

The US officially imposed anti-dumping duties on Vietnamese shrimp in February 2005, with levies ranging from about 4 percent to more than 25 percent.


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