MoIT helps businesses handle trade defense measures

08:52 | 09/04/2018 Trade

(VEN) - According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s Trade Defense Department, some countries, such as the US, Australia and Indonesia, have increased the use of trade defense instruments to protect their manufacturers. In this context, Vietnamese trade offices abroad should provide domestic businesses with information about foreign markets and their trade defense measures so they can take the initiative in promoting production and exports.

moit helps businesses handle trade defense measures
A meeting between commercial counselors and Vietnamese business representatives

Increased protectionism

Data from the Trade Defense Department show that Vietnam has faced a total of more than 120 trade defense actions, including 75 anti-dumping lawsuits, 10 anti-subsidy investigations, 22 self-defense investigations and 17 tax avoidance and evasion investigations. Of this total, 23 actions were initiated by the US, 18 by Turkey, 15 by India, 13 by the EU, and the rest by Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia.

Major examples include the US anti-dumping lawsuits against key Vietnamese exports, such as shrimp (2002) and pangasius (2003), and the EU’s anti-dumping lawsuit against Vietnamese leather upper shoes in 2005. Anti-dumping lawsuits were also aimed at minor exports, such as steel nails, measuring instruments and copper fittings.

Vietnam has also become the target of anti-dumping tax avoidance and evasion investigations because China exports some goods to other countries via Vietnam to avoid anti-dumping taxes.

Moreover, implementing its commitments in free trade agreements (FTAs), Vietnam has removed non-tariff barriers and reduced import taxes, requiring Vietnamese goods to compete fiercely with imported goods and even cope with unfair competition.

Business support

According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade, in 2016 and 2017, Vietnamese trade offices abroad organized more than 500 trade promotion activities under the National Trade Promotion Program. The offices maintained tight coordination with the Trade Defense Department on anti-dumping and anti-subsidy investigations conducted by importing countries. The offices provided information and coordinated with the department to cope with 12 investigations in 2016, 13 investigations in 2017 and dozens of anti-dumping lawsuits filed in previous years.

To minimize the impact of trade defense measures on Vietnamese exports, the Trade Defense Department warned domestic businesses and associations of the need to pay greater attention to diversifying export markets and improving product quality.

Anti-dumping, anti-subsidy and self-defense measures are instruments used to protect the rights and legitimate interests of domestic manufacturers in the competition with imported goods. Therefore, in late January 2018, the government issued Decree 10/2018/ND-CP stipulating in detail the implementation of some articles of the Law on Foreign Trade Management pertaining to trade defense measures.

This decree provides detailed stipulations on the process of conducting a trade defense investigation and the method of identifying damages that face domestic manufacturers, as well as the responsibilities of all parties concerned in the investigation process.

Businesses expect Vietnamese commercial counselors and trade offices abroad will provide them with updated information about foreign markets and with warnings of the risks they may face in the export process, especially anti-dumping lawsuits against Vietnamese agricultural and aquatic products, said Nguyen Ngoc Hoa, Deputy Director of the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Industry and Trade.

Bui Huu Them, a representative of the Handicraft and Wood Industry Association of Ho Chi Minh City (HAWA), said HAWA currently has more than 400 member companies based in southern cities and provinces. HAWA member companies have exported wood products to most countries in Europe, Asia and America. They want Vietnamese trade offices overseas to provide them with information about foreign markets, their new policies and trade barriers facing each sector, especially information about trade frauds and disputes.

Ta Hoang Linh, Director of the Europe and America Markets Department, said localities and associations should take the initiative in maintaining coordination with Vietnamese trade offices abroad, as well as departments dealing with foreign trade, to provide businesses with updated information about policy changes in importing countries and early warnings of their trade defense measures.

Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Quoc Khanh:

In 2017, Vietnamese exports grew strongly and for the first time exceeded US$200 billion. Major exports included vegetables, roots, fruit, seafood, textiles, garments, leather, footwear, rubber and plastics. These results were achieved thanks to business efforts to enhance manufacturing capacity, as well as commercial counselors’ dynamism in seeking updated information about trade policies in foreign markets and dealing with trade disputes.

Ngoc Thao