by Xuan Hiep
HCM CITY — A training workshop that aims to help Vietnamese exporters learn how to use a website that could help them predict the possibility of anti-dumping lawsuits filed by major export markets, especially the US and the EU, was held in HCM City last Saturday.
Held by the World Trade Organisation Affairs Consultation Centre in HCM City, the workshop was part of a series of activities aimed at helping exporters better prepare for anti-dumping and anti-subsidy actions that could be taken against them.
The Early Warning System website (www.canhbaosom.vn or www.earlywarning.vn), in both Vietnamese and English, has been set up by the Ministry of Industry and Trade's Viet Nam Competition Authority.
It aims to give early warning about Vietnamese products that could be subjected to trade remedy measures including anti-dumping prior to official complaints submitted by foreign producers.
The system runs through a variety of data sources, sourced mostly from the Viet Nam Customs Department and foreign customs agencies. These include data about trade, market size and trade measures.
The database serves as the basis for filters of quantitative analysis, including negligibility filters and quantitative filters.
Speaking at the workshop, Trinh Anh Tuan, head of the Viet Nam Competition Authority's International Co-operation Board, said that by learning how to use the website, many Vietnamese businesses would be able to prepare better for counter-trade measures including anti-dumping taxes.
Exporters would have more time to make production adjustments and actively deal with investigations conducted by relevant foreign agencies, Tuan said.
The website would thus help enterprises maintain and build their business in a sustainable manner and improve their competitiveness in export markets.
It would also give exporters access to reliable trade data related to their business, provide advance warning, consultation service and help mitigate negative impacts of cases filed against them, Tuan said.
In addition, the system would help business associations anticipate problems better and provide more effective support to members.
It would also keep the Government updated on the country's export growth, promote exports and diversify markets and industries.
The system is built under the agreement between the Viet Nam Competition Authority and the Global Competitiveness Facility for Vietnamese Enterprises, funded by the Danish International Development Agency.
The early warning system would initially focus on five major Vietnamese exports: seafood, footwear, garments, wood furniture and cables, looking particularly at the US, EU, Canadian, Brazilian and Australian markets. Its scope would be further expanded to include Japan, South Korea and India in the near future.
Tuan said the website was a timely initiative because many Vietnamese exporters were passive in coping with anti-dumping lawsuits.
They typically lack information about such cases and thus have no idea how they have to respond when lawsuits are filed against them.
Most local exporters have no regular lawyers, and many Vietnamese lawyers are inexperienced in such cases, Tuan said.
The language barrier, differences in legal, accounting and financial systems become huge challenges for many export companies when they are under investigation for anti-dumping lawsuits.
Tuan recommended that exporters learn more about anti-dumping laws, adjust prices, diversify export markets, and take the initiative in researching anti-dumping cases.
Pham Chau Giang, deputy head of the International Co-operation Board under the Viet Nam Competition Authority, told Viet Nam News that the number of anti-dumping lawsuits filed has been increasing rapidly since 2004, and looked set to rise further.
"We now realise that some export markets intend to conduct anti-dumping investigations into our notebook paper. So exporters of this product must find measures to cope with this challenge soon," she said.
Giang said she highly recommends that exporters contact the Ministry of Industry and Trade's Viet Nam Competition Authority for help and support.
"We also hope to receive feedback from export businesses regarding the early warning website so we can improve it and expand its scope to more export markets," Giang said.
Nguyen Tran Phuong Ha, manager of Hoa Sen Group said that the workshop was helpful and hoped that the system would be further expanded to include many more industries, especially the steel industry.
To date, Vietnamese companies have faced more than 31 cases relating to anti-dumping, anti-subsidy and other safeguard measures, according to the Viet Nam Competition Authority.
Two-thirds of the anti-dumping lawsuits related to 15 leading export items, and three-fourths were from 10 major export markets including the US and the EU. — VNS