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VASEP asks US to accept tariffs

The Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP) called on the US Department of Commerce (DoC) on Thursday to accept the tariff values recommended by Vietnamese exporters and to grant "separate rate" status to companies previously denied in its preliminary determination.

The call marked another VASEP move to engage US authorities in ensuring fairness in its final calculation of dumping margins on Vietnamese shrimp imports into the US market.

"If the DoC calculates fairly in its final decision, preliminary margins should decline dramatically, in some cases, all the way to zero," Nguyen Van Kich, chairman of VASEP’s Shrimp Committee, said.

In its preliminary decision, DoC calculated dumping margins of between 12.11 per cent and 19.6 per cent for companies designated as "mandatory respondents" and companies deemed entitled to "separate rate" status because they are independent of the Vietnamese Government.

Of the 34 Vietnamese shrimp exporters that asked the DoC to apply separate tariffs because they were not by any means controlled by the Government, 16 were denied the status and were in danger of being slapped with dumping margins of up to 93.13 per cent.

Since the preliminary determination, Kich said, these companies have provided the DoC with detailed information and figures showing size-specific raw shrimp values of Bangladesh, a country chosen as the surrogate country.

Therefore, the DoC needs to use these size-specific values to compare with size-specific export prices, Kich said.

"If the DoC fails to evaluate the actual facts and cannot make a fair, final determination on dumping margins, it will cause great losses to the Vietnamese economy and affect the lives of millions of people," he said.

"The final determination margins must therefore be reduced – if not eliminated – for all exporters to levels that are economically feasible."

Kich said the shrimp raising business plays an important part in the Vietnamese economy. It has created 3.5 million jobs and accounts for three per cent of Viet Nam’s gross domestic product.

Many rural people have switched to shrimp raising from paddy or salt crops under the auspices of international institutions such as the World Bank.

"These organisations do consider shrimp raising as a way to healthy economic development," said Kich.

"The US government itself has supported this industry as a way to consolidate market-oriented economic principles. But now it is the US who attacks the industry it once encouraged."

VNS - (08/11/2004)

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