US Court of Appeals upholds anti-dumping duties on shrimp from Vietnam

Published on
November 13, 2018

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit last week affirmed a 2016 U.S. Court of International Trade decision, rejecting the challenges brought by Vietnamese exporters and some U.S. importers against the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Final Results in the eighth administrative review of the antidumping duty order on certain frozen warmwater shrimp from Vietnam. 

The eighth administrative review determined final antidumping duty rates on shrimp import entries made between 1 February, 2012, and 31 January, 2013. 

Both Vietnamese exporters and the U.S. shrimp industry, through the Ad Hoc Shrimp Trade Action Committee (AHSTAC), challenged the Commerce Department’s final results, according to a statement from Southern Shrimp Alliance.

The Vietnamese exporters had appealed how the Commerce Department chose to value the cost of fresh shrimp inputs for Vietnamese processors and how dumping margins were calculated generally, while AHSTAC had challenged how Commerce chose to value labor costs for those producers. 

The Court of International Trade rejected the Vietnamese exporters’ legal claims but agreed with AHSTAC, leading the Commerce Department to increase the antidumping duties imposed on shrimp imported from the Soc Trang Seafood Joint Stock Company (Stapimex) from 9.75 percent to 10.48 percent and on shrimp imported from all other independent Vietnamese companies participating in the review from 6.37 percent to 6.94 percent.

The change in valuation of labor costs was not at issue in the Vietnamese exporters’ appeal to the Federal Circuit. Instead, the Vietnamese exporters continued to object to the manner in which Commerce valued the cost of fresh shrimp inputs used in their processing of shrimp.

The Federal Circuit held oral argument on the appeal on Monday, 5 November, and AHSTAC participated in defense of Commerce’s antidumping duty rates. Two days later, the Federal Circuit issued a summary affirmation of the CIT’s decision.

The Vietnamese exporters now have the option of appealing the Federal Circuit’s affirmance to the U.S. Supreme Court. If the Vietnamese exporters do not seek to further challenge Commerce’s final results, the agency will issue instructions to U.S. Customs and Border Protection to collect additional antidumping duties from all U.S. importers that imported shrimp subject to this antidumping duty order between 1 February, 2012 and 31 January, 2013.

In September 2018, the Department of Commerce announced the final results of the 12th administrative review, which lowered the antidumping tariffs on shrimp imports from Vietnam.

According to the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP), shrimp exported by Sao Ta Foods JSC, the only mandatory respondent in the review, and more than 30 other local shrimp exporters between 1 February, 2016, and 31 January, 2017, are subject to an antidumping duty of 4.58 percent.

The Department of Commerce’s 10th administrative review is also being challenged in court, and the 12th administrative review faced challenges after VASEP asserted Commerce had made a “mistake” that set the initial anti-dumping rate at 25.39 percent, after the 11th administrative review had fixed the rate at 4.78 percent.

The U.S. imports shrimp worth around USD 600 million (EUR 534 million) from Vietnam every year. The export value Vietnam gained from sales of shrimp to the U.S. from January to September was USD 472 million (EUR 420 million), down three percent year-on-year, VASEP has said.

Photo courtesy of VASEP

Reporting from Hanoi, Vietnam

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