Proactive in trade defense to maintain export advantages

VCN - Due to increasing production and export capacity, Vietnam's exported goods are facing cases of investigation and application of trade defense measures by foreign countries.
Vietnamese exported goods are at high risk of facing trade defense evasion lawsuits. In the first 11 months of 2023, the United States has received/initiated four trade defense cases against Vietnamese exports.
Vietnamese exported goods are at high risk of facing trade defense evasion lawsuits. In the first 11 months of 2023, the United States has received/initiated four trade defense cases against Vietnamese exports.

The constant risk of investigation

Recently, US Department of Commerce (DOC) continues to extend the time to issue the final conclusion on the investigation and review of product scope on wooden cabinets imported from Vietnam. According to a notice given by the US Department of Commerce, the final conclusion of the product scope review investigation is expected to be issued on April 5.

Regarding the tax evasion investigation, the US Department of Commerce has also continued to extend the time for issuing preliminary and final conclusions of the case to April 19 and July 18.

The case of product scope investigation and trade remedy tax evasion was initiated by the US Department of Commerce in May and June, 2022, respectively.

In September, 2023, the US Department of Commerce issued a notice adjusting the preliminary conclusion of March, 2023, thereby listing three cases of wooden cabinets imported from Vietnam with parts made in China falling within the scope of the original tax order with China.

Previously, according to the Trade Defence Agency, from April, 2020, until now, the US has imposed anti-dumping and anti-subsidy duties on wooden cabinets originating from China with anti-dumping tax rates ranging from 4.37 percent to 262.18 percent, as well as anti-subsidy tax rates ranging from 13.33 percent to 293.45 percent.

In addition, on February 14, 2024, the DOC officially initiated an anti-dumping and anti-subsidy investigation on several paper plate products imported from China, Thailand and Vietnam.

Regarding trade defense issues investigated and applied by foreign countries to Vietnam's exports, the United States is the country that has investigated all trade defense measures against Vietnam's exports (including anti-dumping, anti-subsidy, tax invasion and self-defense).

According to the Vietnam Trade Office in the United States, Vietnam had recorded 58 cases subject to trade remedies of the US, including: 26 anti-dumping cases, 9 subsidy cases, 21 cases of tax evasion, 2 cases of self-defense.

Notably, in 11 months from the beginning of 2023, the United States has received/initiated four trade defense cases against Vietnamese exports. Although there is a decrease compared to the same period in 2022, the level of affected turnover tends to increase.

According to the Vietnam Trade Office in the United States, the export industries subject to trade defense lawsuits by the United States include a variety of products: steel products; seafood (shrimp, pangasius); devices; wood, furniture; paper bags, plastic bags; aluminum..., with export value ranging from low turnover to products with large market shares and high turnover.

In addition, US Customs continues to initiate and impose temporary tariffs on many Vietnamese products due to tax evasion on trade remedies (in addition to increasing the application of the Coercion Act).

In addition, the United States is also considering promulgating a series of changes in trade defense investigations with the trend of becoming increasingly difficult for businesses and potentially increasing tax rates in the future.

According to the Vietnam Trade Office in the United States, the United States has considered Vietnam a non-market economy. That is the difference in trade defense cases of the US with Vietnam and the US with some other countries.

Therefore, the United States uses replacement values from third countries to calculate Vietnam's exports, leading to higher tax rates. This has caused tax rates in some dumping cases to be pushed up, not reflecting the reality taking place in Vietnam, causing damage to exporters, reducing Vietnamese goods’ competitiveness in the US market.

Proactively respond early

As the trade defense investigations are popular and increasingly expanding in terms of markets and industries, the risk of facing trade defense evasion lawsuits is unavoidable for Vietnam's exported goods in the time to come. Therefore, the Trade Remedies Department (under the Ministry of Industry and Trade) has continuously issued warnings about some countries investigating the application of trade remedies and made recommendations for associations and businesses to take note of.

Recently, the Trade Defense Agency (under Ministry of Industry and Trade) has warned about the risk of Canada investigating and applying trade defense measures to steel imported from Vietnam due to the rapid increase in export turnover of Vietnam's steel wire products to Canada in recent years. Statistics from Trademap show that Vietnam's export turnover of steel wire products to Canada has increased rapidly in recent years. In 2020, Vietnam exported about US$10 million of steel wire to Canada. The export turnover of this product doubles to US$21 million in 2021 and continues to grow strongly, reaching about US$40 million in 2022.

For Canada alone, there have been eight trade defense cases with steel imported from Vietnam. Specifically, there are 5 anti-dumping cases, 2 anti-subsidy cases and 1 self-defense case. The items targeted by Canada are Vietnam's main export products including concrete reinforcement steel, anti-corrosion steel plates, steel coils and oil pipeline steel.

According to the Trade Defense Agency, with the policy of monitoring and tightening management of steel imported to protect the domestic market, it is expected that in the coming time, Canada will continue to research and investigate products, type of steel imported from Vietnam, including steel wire products. This item is widely used in prestressed concrete wire (PC Wire), umbrella frames, tire bead wire (TBW), piano wire, wire cores for conductors, cables used in elevators and cranes, welding electrode cores and nails.

Based on this database, the Trade Defense Agency issued a warning about the risk of Canada investigating and applying trade defense measures to steel imported from Vietnam and recommended that businesses, related associations and businesses review the export of steel wire to the Canadian market (refer to the following HS codes: 7223, 7213, 7227 and 7306). In cases of investigation, the association and related businesses need to have a strategy to participate and handle the case, fully cooperate at the request of the investigation agency and regularly coordinate to receive support from the Trade Defense Agency.

In addition, to support businesses in responding to trade defense investigation cases, the Trade Defense Agency has issued an early warning list of goods at risk of investigation and announced it to businesses, associations and relevant localities, ministries and branches to coordinate with businesses and monitor. Early warning helps businesses proactively respond to foreign trade defense measures and proactively build production and export strategies and prepare resources; develop a response plan to help minimize negative impacts caused by foreign trade defense measures.

By Ngoc Linh/Kieu Oanh

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