New U.S. customs ruling threatens Vietnam shrimp industry

Vietnam’s shrimp producers and farmers are likely to face bankruptcy as shrimp exports to the American market, as well as shrimp prices, are dropping substantially following a new U.S. customs requirement over bonds.

Since March this year, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has told American importers of shrimp subject to anti-dumping duties to pay a much larger bond than ever.

CBP determines the amount of bond by multiplying the anti-dumping tax rate by an importer’s value of shrimp imports subject to penalty duties during the previous year.

American importers have then told Vietnamese shrimp exporters to pay the bonds, which can reach 20 million USD a year for each exporter.

That’s why shrimp prices have fallen rapidly during the last period, said the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (Vasep).

Door shut

“The door to the American market has been shut to Vietnamese shrimp,” said Nguyen Van Kich, chairman of Vasep’s Shrimp Committee.

Millions of people working in the industry now do not know what to do next, he said.

U.S. customs has been working on this policy very carefully since the start of the shrimp anti-dumping case as it knew the policy would be a big blow to shrimp importers, said a lawyer from White & Case law firm.

There are only two scenarios that can happen to ease the problem, said Mr. Kich. The first is that the two governments talk to try and solve the problem. The second is that American importers and customers voice their protests, he said.

But, a large number of American shrimp importers are planning to buy shrimp from other countries that are not involved to the shrimp anti-dumping case.

According to U.S. media, several importers want to file a lawsuit against CBP as its policy would lead them to bankruptcy.

CBP’s move will destroy not only seafood industries in countries like Vietnam, but also the U.S. shrimp import system, said trade experts.

Reported by Xuan Danh – Translated by Hieu Trung.
Story from Thanh Nien News
Published: 13 May, 2005, 21:19:59 (GMT+7)
Copyright Thanh Nien News