Cheap US chicken: Vietnam poultry producers say trade fraud was committed

Thanh Nien News

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 An undated photo of a customer at a chicken shelf in a Hanoi supermarket
Vietnamese poultry producers said some trade fraud might have been committed, allowing US chicken to be sold at "unreasonably" low prices in the local market, Saigon Times Online reported.
Tran Duy Khanh, vice chairman of the Animal Husbandry Association of Vietnam, was quoted as saying at a conference on Wednesday that his industry group suspected that local importers and US exporters had colluded. 
However, the association could not identify which Vietnamese businesses were involved, or clarify exactly what kind of fraud was committed. 
The association will submit a proposal to the government, asking it to tighten control over the husbandry sector and curb fraudulent trade activities within the sector, he added.
According to Khanh, his organization worked with the US Poultry and Egg Export Council, the US Embassy's agriculture office, and several Vietnamese state agencies, before coming to the latest conclusion.
He quoted the US agencies as saying that chicken thighs and wings are imported into Vietnam at prices as low as 90 cents per kilogram.
But at some markets US chicken thighs are sold at only VND12,000-13,000 (52-56 cents) per kilogram, Khanh said. 
He added that the Department of Animal Health has cleared allegations that US chicken imports are cheap in Vietnam because they come from US farms hit by bird flu. 
Who are the importers?
In July, the Southeastern Poultry Association, which represents more than 3,000 breeders in Ho Chi Minh City and nearby provinces, accused US exporters of dumping cheap chicken on the domestic market, and threatened to bring the case to court.
The association said with low prices at just half of those of local products, US chicken imports have seriously hurt local producers.
Vietnam Customs on Thursday issued a statement, denying that it "deliberately covered information" about chicken importers, Saigon Times Online reported.
Customs officials said they are obliged by laws to keep businesses' identities confidential.
According to customs figures, 82 companies imported nearly 70,000 tons of chicken products through ports in Ho Chi Minh City and the northern city of Hai Phong over the first half year. At a pre-tax price of 91 US cents per kilogram, they were worth $63.7 million.
More than 100,000 tons of chicken products were brought into Vietnam last year.
US products accounted for the majority of chicken imports in Vietnam -- 58 percent last year and over 60 percent over the first half six month this year, followed by chicken products from Brazil and South Korea.

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