Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP) General Secretary Truong Dinh Hoe has described the US Department of Commerce's preliminary decision on anti-dumping taxes imposed on Vietnamese tra fish exports as not completely objective.
Reporter: The DOC's choice of Indonesia as the benchmark used in anti-dumping tax calculations is unexpected and controversial. What are VASEP's views on the decision?
Mr Hoe: VASEP is staggered. We feel the DOC's decisions following its ninth administrative review (POR9) are grossly unfair.The DOC announced the six nations that would be used as proxies for the POR9 in November 2012. Indonesia was not on that list. , The sudden inclusion of Indonesia, and the disparity in Indonesian and Vietnamese statistics, has resulted in the imposition of unreasonably high anti-dumping tax rates on Vietnamese tra fish imports.
It is entirely possible the DOC has caved to political pressure from the lawsuit's plaintiff, the Catfish Farmers of America (CFA).
Reporter: Could you explain how the DOC's anti-dumping tax rates will impact Vietnam's tra fish processing and export sector?
Mr Hoe: The DOC's September 4 preliminary decision states Vietnamese frozen tra fish filets exported to the US between August 1, 2011 and July 31, 2012 will be subjected to anti-dumping taxes.
The mandatory anti-dumping duties imposed on the products of the two companies under review will be US$0.42 and US$2.15 per kilo respectively. Other companies will face a tax rate of US$0.99 per kilo.
The mandatory anti-dumping duties are elevated compared to the decision reached at the eighty POR, while businesses voluntarily submitting to the taxes are only granted a relatively lower rate. These differences hint at the pressure applied by the CFA and the potential for an inequitable final review. The US is an important customer of Vietnam's tra fish industry and the ramifications of such a decision would be far-reaching.
Reporter: There are 120 more days until the DOC issues its final decision. What actions will VASEP take to protect the rights of Vietnamese businesses?
Mr Hoe: Aquaculture businesses have worked closely with our legal team to ensure the tra fish processing and export costs presented to the DOC are as accurate as possible.
The association will examine Indonesian data in preparation for arguing why the DOC should not use it as a benchmark. VASEP's lawyers believe basing calculations on data from Bangladesh and comparative countries will result in much fairer tax rates.
Businesses and the VASEP have lobbied relevant US agencies to campaign for a fair and objective DOC assessment of Vietnamese tra fish. The DOC's last minute inclusion of Indonesia undermines this. We hope the DOC will reconsider this inclusion and correct it in March 2014.
Reporter: Thank you./.
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