US cuts anti-dumping tax on Vietnam’s fish exports

The U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) lowered anti-dumping duties on frozen tra fish (pangasius) filets from Vietnam following its latest preliminary conclusion, according to the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP). 

The Federal Register, the daily journal of the U.S. government, has recently published the preliminary results of the 19th anti-dumping duty administrative review (POR19) by DOC on Vietnam’s frozen tra fish filets exported to the U.S. in the August 1, 2021 to July 31, 2022 period, VASEP reported on Tuesday.

Accordingly, the preliminary anti-dumping taxes on the products of two mandatory respondents, Dong Thap Province-based Vinh Hoan Corporation (often called ‘Pangasius Queen’) and Can Tho City-based Can Tho Import-Export Seafood Joint Stock Company (Caseamex), are US$0 and $0.14 per kilogram, respectively.

Other voluntary respondents, including I.D.I International Development and Investment Corporation (in Dong Thap), Cafatex Fishery Joint Stock Corporation (Hau Giang Province), Loc Kim Chi Seafood Joint Stock Company (Vinh Long Province), and Hung Vuong Corporation (Tien Giang Province), are subject to the same tax rate of $0.14 per kilogram.

All of these localities are in the Mekong Delta region.

The above rates are lower than those in the final conclusion of the previous review (POR18), VASEP said and commented that the tax cut would revive a positive outlook for Vietnamese pangasius exporters to the U.S. in the future.

Anti-dumping taxes have long been a major trade barrier to exporting pangasius from Vietnam to the U.S., but the American market has remained the top importer of this commodity as well as seafood in general from the Southeast Asian country, the association commented.

In a related development, an inspection team from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) last month highly valued Vietnam’s food safety control system for the country’s tra fish exports to the U.S., according to the Vietnamese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

The FSIS team worked in Vietnam from August 7 to 22 to evaluate the system’s efficiency through their various examinations, and spoke highly of almost all of the facilities they visited, except for minor technical errors found at some farms and businesses, the ministry said.

Last year, the earnings from tra fish exports to the U.S. amounted to $537.2 million, accounting for 22 percent of Vietnam’s total export value of this item.

However, as of August 15 this year, Vietnamese pangasius exports to the U.S. reached only $169 million, down 59 percent year on year.

The decline resulted from some unfavorable factors including high inflation in the U.S. economy, which has been at risk of recession, and American importers’ high tra fish inventory, the association explained.

According to local exporters, the U.S. is one of the markets having recorded a sharp decrease in pangasius imports from Vietnam so far this year.

However, VASEP believes that demand for seafood and pangasius in particular in the U.S. will be warming up again in the foreseeable future.