Vietnamese exports face US trade defence measures

October 07, 2023 - 07:25
As of late May, the US launched 55 trade defence investigations against Việt Nam, which accounted for nearly 25 per cent of the total number of anti-dumping investigations against Vietnamese exports.
Steel is one of the Vietnamese products subjected to trade defence investigations by the US. — VNA/VNS Photo

WASHINGTON DC — The US has tightened its trade defence protocols on imports, especially those from Việt Nam, making exports to this market increasingly challenging, stated Counsellor and head of the Vietnam Trade Office in the US, Đỗ Ngọc Hưng.

Hưng identifies the US as the globe's primary importer, boasting an annual value surpassing US$3 trillion. Data from the US International Trade Commission (USITC) reveals that in the initial six months of this year, the US boasted a trade surplus approximating $500 billion, underscoring its allure and status as a prime target for global exporters. Nevertheless, the US market is notably rigorous, imposing exacting standards and demands on a multitude of products.

He noted that in order to reduce its trade surplus, the US has, and will continue to apply more trade defence measures.

As of late May, the US launched 55 trade defence investigations against Việt Nam, which accounted for nearly 25 per cent of the total number of anti-dumping investigations against Vietnamese exports. The investigations covered a wide range of products, from Việt Nam’s key currency earners such as steel, wood, aquatic products, apparel, tyres, and high-pressure washers, to items of smaller export value like honey, grass trimmers, foam mattresses, and woven bags, he said.

According to him, the US Department of Commerce (DOC) has proposed amendments and supplements to several provisions on anti-dumping and anti-subsidy investigations, with a focus on labour-related policies and increased competition against unfair practices from imported goods.

To protect the legitimate interests of businesses and maintain a balanced, sustainable trade relationship between Việt Nam and the US, various discussions and negotiations have taken place between leaders of the Vietnamese Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) and the US side, such as the Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) and the DOC.

The MoIT suggested the DOC conduct investigations with objectivity and fairness, providing the Vietnamese exporters with sufficient time to explain and supply information to investigating authorities for verification. In cases the DOC decides to apply anti-circumvention measures, Việt Nam proposed that the US adopt a simple and convenient mechanism for Vietnamese manufacturers and exporters to confirm their compliance with anti-dumping measures, thus preventing additional burden on Vietnamese exporters.

In the current context, Hưng said Việt Nam needs to make the best use of resources from the Government and businesses, closely monitor the situation, and deal with issues flexibly and decisively to protect its interests in the world's largest market.

He suggested that Vietnamese firms should equip themselves with knowledge about legal regulations on trade defence measures of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and the US in particular, adding that the MoIT also regularly holds workshops and training sessions on trade defence topics.

It is also essential to establish relationships, and join and collaborate with relevant associations in the US, in order to gain additional information and enhance exchanges. This could help avoid situations in which US businesses initiate lawsuits against Vietnamese companies, he said. — VNS