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Vietnam at loggerheads with US over new catfish export tariff
March 30, 2018, 02:48 PM
The two sides have been going back and forth since the U.S. issued the new tariff on March 15.

Vietnam’s Ministry of Industry and Trade has said that a new tariff imposed on pangasius exports by the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) is not objective and has asked for the U.S. to reconsider its decision.

In response, a U.S. official said at a press conference on Monday that the move would not significantly disrupt trade from Vietnam to the U.S.

The DOC has decided to apply a higher tariff for Vietnamese pangasius exports following the completion of an anti-dumping investigation on March 15. The new tariff stands at $7.74 per kilo on products from the two companies that were the subject of the investigation, while other exporters face a fee of $3.87 per kilo, the highest tax the U.S. has ever imposed on Vietnamese pangasius.

Upon learning of the new tax, the Vietnamese ministry issued a statement on March 19 saying the toll was “not objective” and reflected a protectionist stance.

In response, Daniel Kritenbrink, the U.S. ambassador to Vietnam, said that America’s decision was based on a routine, regular review, and that Vietnam still had full access to the U.S. market, including pangasius related products.

The U.S. has been the biggest importer of Vietnamese pangasius in recent years, but strict regulations on quality and food safety, especially a catfish inspection program that was launched in August last year to check the fish from the farm through to processing and shipment, have repeatedly created a bumpy road to the U.S. for Vietnamese exporters.

Vietnam made $1.78 billion from exporting pangasius fish last year, up 4.3 percent against 2016, but its earning from exports of the fish to the U.S. dropped 11 percent to $387 million, said the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers.

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