VFA opposes US anti-subsidy investigation

February 01, 2013 | 16:47
The Vietnam Fisheries Association (VFA) has protested against the US Department of Commerce (DOC)’s launch of investigation under an anti-subsidy lawsuit against frozen warm-water shrimp imported from seven countries, including Vietnam.

The anti-subsidy investigation was made after the Coalition of Gulf Shrimp Industries (COGSI) lodged the petition on January 18.

In a recent press release, the VFA, which represents more than 600,000 Vietnamese shrimp farmers and processors, said Vietnam has developed a market economy since late 1980s and since the nation joined the World Trade Organisation in 2007, all its economic policies concerning international trade (including those on warm-water shrimp farming and processing) have been translated into English and publicised before being issued to collect other WTO members’ opinions through the Vietnamese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development’s SPS programme.

The VFA statistics showed that all shrimp breeding and processing policies of the country were accepted by other WTO members.

In reality, shrimp farmers have used their own capital or taken loans to invest in building ponds, buying shrimp fries and feeds, hiring workers and paying taxes in accordance with the law.

Therefore, COGSI’s lawsuit that accuses the Vietnamese Government for subsidising shrimp breeders is a groundless action, causing worries among Vietnamese shrimp producers and US shrimp importers, making negative impacts on US consumers and going against the developing trade relations between the two countries, said the VFA.

The association pointed out that meanwhile, COGSI is providing the US market with wild caught shrimps. Its comparison of the price of wild caught shrimps (which includes high catching and labour costs in the US) and that of Vietnam’s farmed shrimps (which are raised in favourable climatic and natural conditions) is lame without any scientific grounds, and thus not in line with with WTO regulations. But regrettably, the DOC has accepted COGSI’s petition and conducted the investigation.

The VFA opposed COGSI’s petition and asking that the DOC suspend its subsidy investigation on Vietnam’s shrimp industry, so as to ensure fairness and transparency in international trade relations and avoid causing negative impacts on Vietnamese shrimps producers and exports to the US.

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