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VN protests DOC decision on catfish, to file lawsuit

VN protests DOC decision on catfish, to file lawsuit

Friday, March 22, 2013, 17:35 GMT+7

The US Department of Commerce (DOC) has made a decision that is not fair or objective in calculating the anti-dumping tax for frozen catfish fillets imported from Vietnam, spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Luong Thanh Nghi, said at a press briefing in Hanoi on Thursday.

Nghi referred to the DOC decision to choose Indonesia as the sole benchmark country for the price calculation, which was announced as part of the final results of the 8th Administrative Review (POR8) on March 14. Issues related to the trade relations between the two countries must to be considered in an unbiased manner and in accordance with the World Trade Organization’s regulations, he pressed. While Bangladesh, which shares a number of similar conditions in raising catfish with Vietnam, used to be the benchmark country for the DOC review, this time Indonesia was selected as the third country for reference to calculate input costs of catfish production. Indonesia does not have adequate data on prices and lacks basic financial parameters, while the country is also a net importer of frozen catfish fillets, mainly from Vietnam, and exports no catfish for the world market, the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP) said in a statement. VASEP said it will lodge a lawsuit to demand that DOC change its decision. In a related development, Vietnam’s Directorate of Fisheries has also spoken out against the DOC’s choice regarding Indonesia, adding that it “will bring the case to the US Court of International Trade,” its deputy general director, Pham Anh Tuan, told the Vietnam News Agency. While many Vietnamese firms are currently enjoying nearly a 0 percent anti-dumping tax, the DOC decision hiked the rate more than 25-fold for several Vietnamese exporters. Vinh Hoan Corp and Anvifish are the two most severely affected exporters, with Anvifish’s tax rate rising from $0.03 per kg to $1.34 per kg, and Vinh Hoan, from $0 per kg to $0.19 per kg. Other catfish firms will have an average tax rate of $0.77 per kg, an increase of 25.6 times compared to those ruled by the POR7. In addition, three new firms will also bear a very high tax rate, from $1.37 to $3.87 per kg. Vietnam exports its catfish to 142 countries and territories, bringing home $1.74 billion in revenue, according to VASEP figures. Exports to the US were worth $358 million, or more than 20 percent of the total figure.

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