Chickens sold at a US supermarket. Photo credit: Vietnam's South Eastern Poultry Association
Vietnamese poultry producers are urging authorities to launch an anti-dumping investigation into chickens imported from the US, saying many of them are suffering losses because of the cheap imports.
The South Eastern Poultry Association, which represents more than 3,000 breeders in Ho Chi Minh City and nearby provinces like Binh Duong and Dong Nai, said at a press conference Tuesday that it has notified the government and agencies like the Vietnam Competition Authority.
Le Van Quyet, deputy chairman of the association, said his organization's survey found the imported chickens and chicken products were sold at just 20-25 percent of their cost in the US.
A whole chicken, for instance, costs nearly US$10 per kilogram in US supermarkets, but only VND60,000-70,000 ($2.7-3.2) when imported and sold in Vietnam, he said.
Chicken legs and wings costing $8.59-8.65 per kilogram cost less than a dollar here.
Quyet's association also found that while more US chicken was imported into Vietnam in recent years, their prices have been reducing significantly.
Vietnam imported 50,000 tons of chicken in the first six months, 20 percent up over last year, which accounted for 50 percent of the market, it said.
The import prices were about 65 cents-$1 per kilogram, much lower than last year when more than 80,000 tons of chickens were bought at $1.2-2.2.
Since the import prices were too low, US chickens' retail prices were cheaper than Vietnamese products, even when including import duties and fees related to transport and refrigeration, Quyet said.
Since local breeders cannot compete with imports, they face huge difficulties, Nguyen Van Ngoc, another association deputy chairman, said.
Every month the association's members sold a total of eight million chickens, but at VND5,000 per kilogram less than production costs, he claimed.
As a result, they lost at least VND80-90 billion ($3.6-4 million) a month, or VND500 billion ($22.61 million) over the past six months, Ngoc said, adding that since most of them had borrowed from banks, they are way behind in repaying the loans.
"Authorities need to take measures to protect local poultry producers, or we will not be able to survive the crisis," Le Manh Cuong, owner of a poultry farm in Dong Nai Province, said.