Vietnam’s pangasius shipments to US fall on higher anti-dumping taxes, more inspections

Published on
January 16, 2018

Vietnam’s pangasius exports to the United States have declined sharply after the U.S. imposed higher anti-dumping tariffs and began carrying out stringent inspections in 2017, Vietnam Association of Seafood Producers and Exporters (VASEP) said in a statement last week.

The value of Vietnam’s pangasius shipments to the United States went down 9.7 percent year-on-year to nearly USD 320 million (EUR 267 million) from  January to November 2017.

The hardest hit to Vietnam’s exports was seen in August and September last year following U.S. authorities’ decision to implement anti-dumping tariffs and impose more inspections on Vietnamese pangasius shipments As a result, Vietnam’s export value to the United States slid 54.6 percent year-on-year to USD 18.5 million (EUR 15.4 million) in August and fell 41.2 percent from a year earlier to USD 10.3 million (EUR 8,6 million) in September, according to VASEP.

The difficulties in the U.S. market have discouraged Vietnamese pangasius exporters, with less than 10 out of 62 permitted firms still shipping their products there.

On 12 September, 2017, the U.S. Department of Commerce decided to preliminarily raise the anti-dumping duty on Vietnamese frozen pangasius fillets to USD 2.39 (EUR 1.95) per kilogram under its 13th administrative review of the antidumping duty, tripling the previous rate. 

In addition, since 2 August, 2017, the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), operating under the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), has inspected every single catfish shipment entering the U.S. at inventories, also known as I-houses, managed by the USDA.

The inspections have negatively affected the Vietnamese exporters due to extra costs, said VASEP.

FSIS is in the process of assessing if Vietnam’s food safety inspection system for pangasius is equivalent to that of the United States. The organization is likely to decide by the end of March on whether imports of Vietnamese pangasius will continue, VASEP General Secretary Truong Dinh Hoe told the Saigon Times in early January 2018.

The FSIS program required countries wishing to continue exporting siluriformes fish (the genus that includes pangasius) to the United States to submit documentation showing safety inspection equivalence by 1 September, 2017. VASEP said Vietnam had complied with the request by the FSIS deadline.

FSIS said it is reviewing the self-reporting tool and other documentation submitted by Vietnam and other countries and will schedule audits to each country by 1 March, 2018. FSIS will issue a final ruling on the equivalence following its audits. In the meantime, Vietnam’s pangasius processors are still allowed to export their products to the United States.

With the numerous trade barriers impeding the path of pangasius into the United States, China has become the top buyer of Vietnamese pangasius, according to 2017 data. Vietnam’s pangasius export value to China rose 37.9 percent year-on-year to USD 373.3 million (EUR 311.2 million) in the period, VASEP said.

Reporting from Hanoi, Vietnam

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