Tra fish exports face higher US tariffs

Monday, Jan 26, 2015 07:59

The revised rate of US$0.97 per kilo will be applicable to 24 Vietnamese tra fish exporters, and is higher than the $0.58 charge issued in July 2014.— Photo

HA NOI (Biz Hub) — Vietnamese tra fish fillets' exports to the United States might be hurt this year due to a high anti-dumping tax rate imposed by the latter, an official said.

Truong Dinh Hoe, the general secretary of the Viet Nam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP), revealed that according to the final results of the U.S. Department of Commerce's anti-dumping duty administrative review (POR 10) issued on January 16, the United States has nearly doubled the anti-dumping tax rate levied on Vietnamese tra fish fillets imported between August 2012 and July 2013.

The revised rate of US$0.97 per kilo will be applicable to 24 Vietnamese tra fish exporters, and is higher than the $0.58 charge issued in July 2014.

Meanwhile, a wide rate of US$2.39 per kilo still remains applicable to other companies' Vietnamese tra fish fillet exports to the United States.

Those rates have been bumped up because the United States chose Indonesia to calculate dumping margins for fixing the tax rate, instead of Bangladesh, Hoe said. When the United States picked Bangladesh, the rate for the 24 companies was fixed at $0.03.

Hoe told the Tuoi tre (Youth) newspaper that the tax rate of nearly $1 per kilo will burden Viet Nam's tra fish exporters.

The high tax will also push up selling prices so that importers, as well as consumers in the U.S. market, will have a problem accepting the high selling price, especially in a situation where Vietnamese tra fish must compete with other kinds of fish in the world market, he said.

Additionally, other countries, such as Bangladesh, China and Indonesia also export their catfish products to the United States.

The most difficult issue is taxes and advance deposits as Vietnamese tra fish exporters are required to pay high deposits to the U.S. Customs that have temporarily calculated the tax, based on the high anti-dumping tax of $0.97 per kilo for PRO 10.

They have no choice but to do so if they want to continue exporting their tra fish fillet products to the U.S. market this year, Hoe noted.

These deposits are considerable and translate into exporters having to pay tens of millions and their partners in the United States might also avoid trading in Vietnamese tra fish fillet products going forward, he said.

Therefore, almost all exporters will temporarily stop selling their products to the U.S. market, Hoe said. Given such a high anti-dumping tax rate, the number of exporters to the U.S. market is expected to plunge to three from as many as 30 companies four years ago.

These three companies include new exporters to the United States or the companies that enjoy a nearly zero tax rate as they do not figure on the list of defendants for the POR 10. Viet Nam will have to a file a lawsuit on the final decision on the anti-dumping tax rates for Vietnamese tra fish fillet at the POR before the U.S. International Trade Centre.

Hoe said tra fish exports from Viet Nam to the United States are expected to continue dropping this year after a year-on-year drop of 11.5 per cent in export value to $337 million during 2014.

However, Hoe added that despite the increased tax imposed on Vietnamese frozen tra fish fillet, other companies can continue to export products of tra fish, such as whole tra fish, tra fish cut into pieces, and value added products of tra fish to the U.S. market.

These companies should also actively seek new markets for their tra fish fillet and ASEAN and other Asian countries could be potentially strong markets for them, he said. — VNS

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