January 27, 2003
Vietnam 'dumping' catfish in its market
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Bush
administration Monday moved toward imposing anti-dumping duties ranging up to
nearly 64 percent on catfish imports from Vietnam.
In a preliminary decision, the Commerce Department said Vietnamese catfish
producers were "dumping" their product in the U.S. market by selling it at "less
than fair value."
The ruling marks another victory for U.S. catfish farmers in their battle
against their Vietnamese competitors, who supply about 90 percent of the U.S.
In a law aimed primarily at Vietnam, Congress has already prohibited any fish
other than the Native American species from being marketed in the United States
However, the Commerce Department's estimate of the degree of dumping was far
less than the 190 percent level alleged by U.S. catfish farmers in their case
filed last year.
In a fact sheet explaining its decision, Commerce estimated Vietnamese catfish
producers were selling their product at 37.94 percent to 63.88 percent below
The catfish fight is the first big spat to emerge between the former war enemies
since Congress approved a historic trade agreement with Vietnam in 2001.
Hanoi denies the dumping charge, saying several factors enable Vietnamese
catfish farmers to sell their product more cheaply than their U.S. competitors.
Those include weather conditions that allow for year-round production, advanced
raising technology, an abundant labor force and low input costs, Vietnam says.
U.S. farmers say the low-priced imports are damaging the market they have
carefully nurtured over the past two decades.
Commerce's decision requires U.S. importers to post bonds in anticipation of
final anti-dumping duties being imposed.
The department is expected to issue its final calculation of antidumping duties
on April 9.
Vietnam could still avoid antidumping duties if the U.S. International Trade
Commission reverses itself and decides the low-priced imports have not harmed
In a preliminary decision last August, the independent trade panel voted 5-0
that there was a reasonable indication that U.S. catfish producers have been
injured by the imports.
The ITC will make final decision this spring on whether the imports are injuring