June 18, 2003
Vietnam steamed over catfish
After U.S. levied 64% tax on catfish on dumping allegations, Vietnam says
move is 'unjust.'
HANOI (Reuters) - A U.S. Commerce
Department decision to levy anti-dumping duties of nearly 64 percent on
Vietnam's catfish exports drew angry protests from Hanoi on Wednesday.
"Vietnamese people, especially fish farmers in Vietnam, are extremely
disappointed by the U.S. Department of Commerce's trade protectionism-laden
judgments," the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers said in a
Vietnam is the largest foreign supplier of catfish to the U.S. market. Last
year, it sold more than $55 million worth of frozen fish -- mostly catfish -- to
the United States.
The U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) said Tuesday it had found, "Vietnamese
producers/exporters have made sales to U.S. customers at less than fair value."
The decision awaits approval by the International Trade Commission, due July 31,
to affect Vietnam's exports of catfish fillets.
"The U.S. Department of Commerce's verdict is totally unjust and
one-directional, neglecting all information from the Vietnam side of the story,"
said an official of the association.
The industry association, which groups around 120 fisheries businesses, also
expressed concerns that "this unjust decision by DOC would lead to negative
consequences for existing trade relations between the two countries."
"Vietnamese are peace-loving people who have endured and won many wars, but of
course we prefer to live in peace," said Nguyen Dinh Huan, deputy director of
Agifish, Vietnam's largest fish export firm.
Many Vietnamese catfish processors have branched into other foreign markets and
switched from fillets to other processed products, such as breaded fillets, to
avoid the tariff hikes.
Vietnam had previously suggested it would curb catfish exports to the United
States, but the U.S. rejected the proposal.