Vietnam grapples with trade probes as protectionism increases

By Dat Nguyen   August 10, 2019 | 08:30 pm PT
Vietnam grapples with trade probes as protectionism increases
Workers place fillets of Swai fish to froze at a factory in Can Tho, southern Vietnam. Photo by Reuters/Kham.
Seven investigations have been launched Jan-July at the behest of foreign producers claiming unfair competition from Vietnamese goods.

The Ministry of Industry and Trade said at a recent meeting that of the seven, five were anti-dumping probes and other two, anti-subsidy probes. It did not provide further details about the countries in which the probes have been launched and which Vietnamese goods were subjected to them.

Several foreign producers have alleged that Vietnamese goods are being sold in their home markets at low prices, thus requiring the imposition of anti-dumping duties.

The ministry said it is also dealing with seven ongoing trade investigations from last year and another four in which measures have been taken, including those that involve pangasius fish and shrimp, key export items.

Le Trieu Dung, head of the Trade Remedies Authority of Vietnam under the ministry, said that the country needs to have a strategy to increase the added value for its export items in the context of rising protectionism in the world.

If Vietnam’s exports to a country increases too fast, that country might get suspicious and initiate an anti-dumping or anti-subsidy investigation, he added.

Deputy Trade Minister Tran Quoc Khanh said at the meeting that the U.S. has adopted a new approach to tariff circumvention. Vietnam has been making products with Chinese hot-rolled steel for decades, but now the U.S. calls it a circumvention of anti-dumping tariffs that it has placed on China.

The trade remedies authorities need to review which items are susceptible to trade defense measures and warn local businesses, he added.

Last month, the U.S. slapped duties of up to 456 percent on some steel products imported from Vietnam which it alleged were produced in South Korea and Taiwan.

India is also investigating steel allegations made against Vietnam and 14 other countries as requested by Indian steelmakers who claim that the imports of these steel products is hurting their business.

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