The Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP) has voiced its objection to the anti-dumping tax rates on imported Vietnamese tra fish imposed by the preliminary decision of the US Department of Commerce (DOC) after the ninth administrative review (POR9).

In its September 5 press release, the association asked the DOC to keep Bangladesh as the proxy country for calculating the input costs of Vietnamese tra fish products in the final decision of the POR8 and 9 as in previous years.

Under the DOC’s preliminary decision announced on September 4, Vietnamese frozen tra fish filets exported to the US between August 1, 2011 and July 31, 2012 will be subjected to anti-dumping taxes.

Accordingly, the anti-dumping duties on products of two mandatory reviewed companies will be of 0.42 USD/kg and 2.15 USD/kg respectively and for other voluntary companies it will be 0.99 USD/kg.

The VASEP said it was unhappy with the DOC’s sudden decision to use a different surrogate country to calculate the cost of Vietnamese fish products in the POR9.

Earlier, the VASEP and tra fish exporters to the US filed a petition to the US Court of International Trade (US CIT) over the final decision of the DOC’s POR8, asking the court to consider the accuracy of DOC’s calculation and force it to reselect a more suitable benchmark country and recalculate the anti-dumping taxes.

The CIT accepted the petition and asked US Customs to temporarily stop collecting anti-dumping taxes from Vietnamese exporters under the POR8 decision until the court makes its final decision.

According to the VASEP, the decision to choose Indonesia as the reference country has led to irrationally high anti-dumping tax rates as approved in the preliminary decision of the POR9.

In previous PORs, it was the DOC that always objected to Indonesia as the third country as it has insufficient price data and basic financial parameters. Indonesia, in fact, is an importer of Vietnamese frozen tra filets, not a tra fish exporter.

The decision also goes against the one made by the DOC on November 8, 2012 when it announced the list of six countries to be used as proxies for the POR9, which excluded Indonesia, as the country is not “economically comparable” to Vietnam based on more than half of POR’s criteria, according to the association.

The VASEP further said that the DOC consecutively chose Bangladesh as the benchmark country for valuing the input of Vietnamese tra fish in the previous PORs. Bangladesh also produces commercial “hypophthalmus” tra fish and breeds them in ponds like Vietnam, and production costs and revenue from tra fish in Vietnam and Bangladesh are nearly the same.

As a result, there is no reason for Indonesia to become the proxy country, or is its data more reliable to be the basis for the preliminary decision of the POR9 as well as the final decision of POR8 , according to the VASEP.-VNA