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Vietnam’s plywood confronted by US anti-dumping tax as many exporters deemed ‘non-cooperative’

Vietnam’s plywood confronted by US anti-dumping tax as many exporters deemed ‘non-cooperative’

Tuesday, August 23, 2022, 15:35 GMT+7
Vietnam’s plywood confronted by US anti-dumping tax as many exporters deemed ‘non-cooperative’
This image shows a worker at a hardwood plywood factory in Vietnam. Photo: H.Quan / Tuoi Tre

Vietnam’s plywood may be subject to U.S. anti-dumping tax as 36 Vietnamese enterprises were listed by the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) as ‘non-responsive’ or ‘non-cooperative’ in its ongoing investigation, according to the Vietnam Timber and Forest Products Association (VIFOREST).

The DOC recently issued a preliminary conclusion on the investigation of evasion of trade remedies for plywood using hardwood materials imported from Vietnam, the VIFOREST representative said on Monday.

Accordingly, the DOC concluded that 21 Vietnamese businesses cooperated with the agency during the probe, while 22 others were listed as ‘unresponsive’ and 14 others as ‘uncooperative’ for giving no reply or giving incomplete or inconsistent replies to the DOC’s questions.   

VIFOREST is assisting these 36 ‘unresponsive’ and ‘uncooperative’ firms in providing their explanations to the DOC and registering for participation in public hearings to affirm that they should be excluded from the DOC’s ongoing trade remedy duty evasion probe.

Under the DOC’s preliminary conclusion, if plywood from Vietnam has a core using peeled wood imported from China, it will be subject to anti-dumping and anti-subsidy duties as applied to Chinese plywood imports.

In the event plywood from Vietnam has a core using peeled wood made in Vietnam or in other countries, it will not be subject to such duties.

Currently, the U.S. is applying an anti-dumping duty of 183.36 percent and an anti-subsidy tax of 22.98 percent up to 194.9 percent on products from China, the DOC said.

The DOC initiated the anti-dumping and anti-subsidy duty evasion investigation for hardwood plywood from Vietnam in June 2020, based on the request of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

According to its latest announcement, the DOC will issue final conclusions on the investigation on October 17, 2022, after three extensions waiting for the firms’ cooperation.

Being listed by the DOC as ‘non-responsive’ or ‘non-cooperative’ worries relevant Vietnamese plywood manufacturers, Ngo Sy Hoai, vice-president and general secretary of VIFOREST, told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper.

If negative judgements against the Vietnamese enterprises are passed, they will be subject to the U.S. anti-dumping and anti-subsidy taxes, leading to a loss of export markets and even bankruptcy, Hoai warned. 

“As these firms provided their written explanations and additional information to the DOC and signed up to attend relevant public hearings, VIFOREST hopes the DOC will thoroughly take everything into account and issue a fair final decision,” the official stated.

He emphasized that VIFOREST and Vietnamese plywood enterprises are ready to welcome DOC delegations to Vietnam for on-site surveillance of domestic hardwood plywood manufacturers' operations.

Hoai also proposed strict punishments imposed on cases of commercial fraud and tax evasion, if any.

The export turnover of plywood using Vietnam’s hardwood materials to the U.S. amounted to US$356.7 million last year, far higher than $248.5 million in 2020, $226.4 million in 2019, and $112.3 million in 2018, according to U.S. customs statistics.

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Vinh Tho - Chi Tue / Tuoi Tre News

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