Vietnam exporters urged to unite against threat of trade remedies

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Vietnamese exporters should strengthen cooperation between themselves and with importers in order to deal with the threat of trade remedies, experts said at forum in Hanoi last week.

The cooperation would enable early detection of the trade remedy threat and prompt united responses that are effective, they said.

Trade remedies are trade policy tools used by governments to act against imports to protect domestic industries, like anti-dumping countervailing duties.

Dr. Peter J. Koenig, an expert on trade remedy proceedings, told the forum that export commodities that are vulnerable to investigation for antidumping and countervailing duties include items produced in small volumes in importing countries.

He advised Vietnam to pay more attention to some sensitive export commodities like garments, steel and woodwork to effectively deal with trade remedies.

A representative from the Vietnam Woodwork Association said local exporters do not have a warning system yet on trade remedies, so the risk of facing them is very large.

Some firms are also not well prepared in terms of both manpower and material conditions to cope with lawsuits when they happen. There are some others who have no inclination to engage with the problem and let the lawsuits or investigations run their course.

Vietnamese commodities have faced a record high number of investigations with seven trade remedy cases in 6 markets, according to the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Vu Ba Phu, Deputy Director General of the Vietnam Competition Agency under the Ministry of Industry and Trade, said firms should not sign shipment contracts at low prices.

It is also necessary to have close cooperation between exporters and importers on issues relating to the import market, he said. Firms and associations should also cooperate in dealing with the cases, so they can put up a stronger response.

A representative from the woodwork association said the state should have a system warning firms of the risks of trade remedies for each export item, while firms should diversify their export markets to reduce the impacts of such actions taken by importing governments.

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