Vietnamese goods in face of pressure from trade protectionism


By the end of last year, more than 160 trade remedies investigations were launched and applied to Vietnamese goods. It is forecast that there will be 25 export products being investigated this year.

 Nine out of 16 cases of trade remedies investigations are on steel products, accounting for 60 percent. (Photo: SGGP)

Nine out of 16 cases of trade remedies investigations are on steel products, accounting for 60 percent. (Photo: SGGP)

In 2019 alone, the number of cases of trade remedies and disputes related to export products of Vietnam increased rapidly with nearly 20 cases, the highest level in history. The US remained the country which probed most into Vietnam’s export products with 31 cases, followed by Turkey with 21 cases, India with 21 cases and the EU with 14 cases. In terms of the subject of the trade remedies investigations, nine out of 16 cases were steel products, accounting for 60 percent.

Among countries applying trade remedies on Vietnam, the US tends to expand the scope of protectionist measures. The products, that are being imposed anti-dumping measure, will still be investigated again, at the same time, they will also be put under countervailing investigation. For instance, the US had already investigated tax evasion on some extruded aluminum products imported from Vietnam. Preliminarily, the extruded aluminum products of Vietnam exported to the US were said to have evaded the anti-dumping and anti-subsidy duties that the US had applied to Chinese products earlier. Therefore, the US levied tariffs of up to 374.15 percent on these products of Vietnam. Among the extruded aluminum products with Vietnamese origin alleged of tax evasion, some harmonized system codes belong to the application scope of the anti-dumping measure under the Decision No.2942/QD-BCT of the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT).

The fact that the US applies measures to prevent tax evasion might hurt true manufacturers and exporters of Vietnam in both profit and prestige when they are facing competitive pressure from imported goods, especially amid the context that the trade war between the US and China has seen no end, said the representative of the Trade Remedies Authority of Vietnam under the (MoIT).

Noticeably, besides the above countries, partner countries in the free trade agreements accounted for a large proportion in new cases as tariffs will reduce to zero percent for many products when tariffs are removed in accordance with signed FTAs.

Amid the context that the regional and global economic and trade relations are happening complicatedly, in addition, the free trade agreement between the EU and Vietnam will come into effect this year, of which the former will give lots of incentives for the latter’s export products, trade remedies measures will continue to increase. Therefore, enterprises need to closely watch and cooperate with the State management agencies, the MoIT and the Trade Remedies Authority of Vietnam to have solutions to deal with the problems from the beginning.

In fact, the cooperation between authorities and enterprises in trade remedies investigations lately has helped to lessen losses significantly for enterprises. For instance, for the investigations on anti-tax evasion on cold-rolled coils and stainless steel products, although the US imposed trade remedies measures with extremely high duties of up to 456 percent, thanks to the activeness of the State management agencies, associations and enterprises, most export enterprises had collaborated right from the beginning, answering the questionnaire that included in the list of certification of raw material source then they were not imposed high duties. Or for some products, such as pangasius fish, basa fish and shrimp, basically, large exporters exporting to the US and the EU markets are still receiving a fairly low tariff rate of zero percent.

‘Up to 95 percent of the export turnover of Vietnam, if enterprises strictly and fully carry out the certification of raw materials, will not be imposed duties. This is a positive result,’ cited Mr. Le Trieu Dung, Director of the Trade Remedies Authority of Vietnam.

He added that shortly, the Trade Remedies Authority of Vietnam will continue to focus on cooperating with relevant authorities to warn and update information on foreign markets about protectionist measures, especially the trade remedies that importing countries might investigate to apply on Vietnamese goods. At the same time, it will collaborate with other departments to implement a project on emergency and urgent measures to prevent origin fraud, illegal rerouting of goods and trade remedies evasion. The prevention of origin fraud and trade remedies evasion is an important policy to protect true manufacturing industries and enterprises amid the context that many countries have been applying several measures to prevent tax evasion.

By Lac Phong – Translated by Gia Bao

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