A frozen shrimp processing line at Minh Phú Seafood Joint Stock Company in the southern province of Kiên Giang. – Photo haiquanonline.com.vn
HÀ NỘI – Minh Phú Seafood Joint Stock Company (JSC) has opposed the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP)’s application of anti-dumping tariffs on its frozen shrimp exports.
The objection was made on Thursday after the CBP had applied the Enforce and Protect Act (EAPA) to conclude that frozen shrimp products exported by Minh Phú Seafood JSC to the US market should be subject to tax in accordance with the anti-dumping duty order imposed on shrimp from India. It said the company did not provide sufficient evidence as requested by the CBP to prove that the company was not using shrimp originating from India for export to the US.
A representative of Minh Phú Seafood JSC said the CBP’s conclusion was not accurate and it would appeal against the above decision.
CEO of Minh Phú JSC Lê Văn Quang said the decision was a big surprise for the company because as soon as it had received the CBP’s notice of an investigation, Minh Phú had fully cooperated with the investigating agency and demonstrated clearly how the company handled and separated shrimp of Vietnamese origin and Indian origin on the production line to ensure that only Vietnamese shrimp was exported to the US.
“Although we actively cooperated and invited investigators from the CBP to visit us in Việt Nam, they did not conduct field verification. This has led to the CBP's inaccurate assessment of Minh Phú's imported shrimp and Vietnamese raw shrimp traceability system,” Quang said.
Quang said the CBP had its own evaluation criteria for shrimp separation methods, and asserted that Minh Phú should have used this tool to trace the raw shrimp. It rejected the traceability management method that Minh Phú had been using for more than four years.
He said as Minh Phú did not follow the method requested by the CBP, the agency had applied “available adverse facts” and concluded that Minh Phú had violated the EAPA law.
“This requirement of the CBP is not completely consistent with the production characteristics of the shrimp industry. According to research by the company, no shrimp exporting enterprises have such a traceability system,” he added.
In fact, Minh Phú has clearly demonstrated its separation and traceability method approved by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) under the US Department of Commerce, based on its requirements for the Seafood Import Monitoring Programme.
“Minh Phú completely stopped importing raw shrimp from India at the end of July 2019 because domestic raw materials were fully capable of supplying our factories,” Quang said.
Minh Phú has successfully applied and effectively operated a high-tech shrimp farming model at its two farming areas Minh Phú Kiên Giang (600ha) and Minh Phú Lộc An (300ha). It has also been establishing a network of shrimp suppliers across the Mekong Delta and southwest, with diverse models of sustainable shrimp farming.
“We believes the CBP's decision was made based on an unreasonable request and was not based on compelling evidence. Therefore, Minh Phú will exercise its right to appeal against this decision. Minh Phú is confident of putting forward a convincing appeal because the CBP's decision was not based on any authentic arguments,” Quang stressed.
According to Quang, the review process was expected to take place within 60 days from the date the appeal is recorded. In case the appeal did not produce the desired results, Minh Phú would appeal to the Court of International Trade. Whilst waiting for the outcome of the appeal, Minh Phú would make every effort to ensure the CBP's ruling did not affect its export business to the US.
On January 14, 2020, the CBP announced the initiation of an investigation into anti-dumping tax evasion that is currently applied to Indian shrimp exports. It has also investigated MSeafood Company, a subsidiary of Minh Phú JSC in the US, on suspicion the company had imported raw shrimp from India for preliminary processing and export to the US in the guise of shrimp originating from Việt Nam. – VNS