US delays decision in shrimp subsidy case

Published: 07/03/2013 10:54

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The International Trade Administration under the US Department of Commerce (DOC) has announced that it will delay until May 28 a preliminary decision on whether to impose countervailing duties on frozen warm-water shrimp imports from Viet Nam.

Originally, the DOC planned to issue the preliminary decision on March 25 after the US International Trade Commission confirmed that the US shrimp industry had suffered significant losses due to subsidised shrimp imports.

However, on February 8, the petitioner asked the DOC to extend the preliminary decision as they believe that the normal period of 65 days was insufficient for an investigation.

Under US law, the preliminary decision can be extended up to 130 days from the date of initiation of the investigation.

According to US law, the final decision on whether the shrimp sector is subsidised by the Vietnamese government will be issued no later than 75 days after the date of the preliminary decision, which is expected on August 11.

On December 28 last year, the US-based Coalition of Gulf Shrimp Industries filed a lawsuit with the DOC requesting that countervailing duties be imposed on shrimp imported from seven countries, including Viet Nam.

The coalition also requested the International Trade Commission to conduct an anti-subsidy investigation into shrimp imports from the seven countries.

On January 18, the DOC officially began the investigation after considering the petition and arguments of the parties involved.

Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai has asked Vietnamese relevant agencies to deal with the case and noted that all of Vie.t Nam's support policies and incentives for the shrimp industry had been in strict accordance with WTO regulations.

In a related issue, for the first time ever, the DOC has issued a preliminary decision on whether Vietnamese shrimp exports have been dumped on the US market. It said that shrimp exports had not been dumped on the market.

Accordingly, the DOC decided to impose a zero-percent countervailing duty for shrimp imports from Viet Nam from February 1 to January 31, 2012 under the period of review (POR) 7, according to VASEP.

Specifically, both compulsory defendants, including Minh Phu Seafood Corporation and Nha Trang Seafood company, will have a zero-percent anti-dumping tax. Other companies involved in this POR will also enjoy a zero-percent duty.

A representative from VASEP, who declined to be named, told Viet Nam News that the decision had brought hope for Vietnamese shrimp exporters in the context of a difficult situation.

The US was the second largest importer of shrimp from Viet Nam in the first 11 months of last year. Japan was the largest, VASEP said.

Shrimp exports to the US reached more than US$425.4 million in that 11-month period, a drop of 15.6 per cent compared to the same period in 2011. The amount to the US accounted for 20.6 per cent of Viet Nam’s total shrimp export turnover.

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