Chickens sold at a US supermarket. Photo credit: Vietnam's Southeastern Poultry Association
The US poultry industry has denied allegations that it was dumping cheap products into Vietnam, one week after Vietnamese producers accused it of pursuing an unfair pricing policy.
In a statement quoted by Vietnamese media on Tuesday, the US Poultry and Egg Export Council President James Sumner said US chicken products in Vietnam, mostly leg quarters, drumsticks and thighs, are sold at similar or even higher prices compared to those in the US.
He quoted his agency's statistics as saying that two-third of US's chicken leg quarters were consumed in the home country, and the rest was exported to more than 125 markets, including Vietnam.
In his response, Nguyen Van Ngoc, vice chairman of the Southeastern Poultry Association, which represents more than 3,000 breeders in Ho Chi Minh City and nearby provinces, said it was the US council's opinion only.
The association is still working with lawyers to prepare for an anti-dumping lawsuit, while calling for the support of other poultry associations around the country, he said.
Ngoc insisted that US chicken products' prices here are only one-third of those in the US, which is questionable.
Worse, they are also cheaper than Vietnamese products, despite the fact that production costs in US were higher than those in Vietnam, he said.
At a conference last week, Ngoc's association said US chicken's prices were almost just half of those of local products, blaming the unreasonable gap on cheap import prices -- about 65 cents-$1 per kilogram in the first six months.
Since local producers could not compete with imports, they have been facing huge difficulties. The association's members reported a total loss of VND500 billion ($22.61 million) in the past six months, it said.
During the press conference, the Southeastern group also announced that they have sent letters to relevant agencies, including the Vietnam Competition Authority, urging them to launch anti-dumping investigations into US-imported chicken thighs.
It claimed that the product was sold at less than one dollar per kilogram here, compared to $2.5-4 in the US.
In a comment on the association's petition, Tong Xuan Chinh, deputy chief of the Department of Livestock Production, said in news website VnExpress that his agency sent people to survey the prices.
However, they were yet to discover any place in Vietnam where US chicken thighs were sold at VND20,000 per kilogram, as claimed, Chinh said.
"Without any evidence, we cannot give any comment on the case."
He also said that to determine whether US chicken products have been sold at unreasonably low prices, Vietnam needs to gather all information about the costs of producing a kilogram of chicken in the US and Vietnam.
But, so far such information regarding US farms was not available, Chinh said.