HÀ NỘI — The Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) has said it will talk with the US on the case of local Minh Phú seafood firm, which was accused of tax evasion in the US.
Before Tết (Lunar New Year), media reported that the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) had launched an investigation into whether MSeafood, a US division of Minh Phú Seafood, violated US trade laws by evading anti-dumping taxes on frozen warmwater shrimp from India.
A report on undercurrentnews.com on January 16 said the CBP had sent a letter to MSeafood Corporation, located in Fountain Valley, California, regarding the initiation of the investigation and interim measures.
On Thursday, MoIT said it had reported the case to the Prime Minister and also told the shrimp firm to clarify and provide all the information needed.
MoIT said, together with other relevant ministries and departments, it would talk with the US side about the issue.
MoIT said it would fight against commercial fraud, including origin fraud, however, it would do its best to protect local aquaculture firms if they were not involved in such activities.
Minh Phú said it was a pity that CBP applied the sanctions against the firm before letting it have a chance to provide Ad Hoc Shrimp Trade Enforcement Committee (AHSTE) with data and tell them directly the issues they accused the firm for.
Chairman of Minh Phú Lê Văn Quang said: "We will always cooperate with CBP even though their decision with us was so unfair and based on biased information”, in a letter sent to the State Securities Committee.
Quang said Minh Phú had assigned lawyers in Việt Nam and in the US to actively work with CBP to provide them with the correct data so that they could give the correct decision.
Minh Phú confirmed they had not imported frozen shrimp from India to export to the US.
Last year, Minh Phú Seafood’s total production was down 9.05 per cent on-year to 59,500 tonnes.
Total exports were 57,700 tonnes, worth US$643 million. The figures were down 14.69 per cent and 14.25 per cent on-year, respectively.
In the US market, the company recorded a 19.57 per cent annual drop in its exports, which retreated to $246 million.
Minh Phú Seafood shares (UPCoM: MPC) dropped another 0.9 per cent on Friday morning at VNĐ21,500 ($0.97) per share. Its shares tumbled more than 10 per cent after the investigation was reported. — VNS