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Strengthen trade remedies to protect domestic production: Vietnam's Trade Defense Authority
Thanh Thanh 10:39, 2024/02/06
Companies should acquire the necessary trade defense knowledge and provide prompt and accurate information to investigating authorities upon request to protect their legitimate interests.

Chu Thang Trung, Deputy Director General of the Vietnam Trade Remedies Authority under the Ministry of Industry and Trade, told Hanoimoi newspaper that trade remedies will be this year further strengthened and better coordinated to help protect domestic production and exports.

Creating a fair and competitive environment

An assembly line at Katolec Vietnam's electronics production facility in Quang Minh Industrial Park, Hanoi. Photos: Pham Hung/ The Hanoi Times

What are the results of trade remedies to protect domestic production in 2023?

The purpose of investigating and applying trade defense measures is to create a fair competitive environment for domestic industries against unfair competition from imported goods. In 2023, we received and processed five requests for investigation and applied trade defense measures.

Based on the existing regulations and the information submitted, the authority recommended the Ministry of Industry and Trade initiate investigations in two cases and requested domestic industries update documentation in three other cases.

In addition to investigating new cases, we reviewed 12 trade remedy cases to ensure the proper application of the specified targets, levels and conditions as required by the regulations. Of these, seven cases have been concluded and five are still ongoing.

The trade protection measures have helped domestic industries overcome the damage caused by unfair competition from imported goods, resulting in increased sales and market share in the domestic market and securing employment for tens of thousands of workers.

The applied trade protection measures have also contributed to increasing tax revenue for the State budget, estimated to exceed VND1 trillion (US$41 million) in 2023.

What are the activities to deal with foreign trade defense investigations on Vietnamese exports?

With increasing production and export capacity, Vietnamese exports face an increasing number of foreign trade defense investigations.

In 2023, Vietnamese exports were subject to 13 new investigation cases and 22 ongoing investigations and annual reviews.

Despite the increasing diversity and scope of products under investigation and the more rigorous procedures, the assistance provided to companies in dealing with foreign trade defense investigations in 2023 yielded positive results.

For example, the Philippines reduced anti-dumping duties on cement and Australia terminated its anti-dumping investigation on Vietnamese ammonium nitrate.

Mexico found Vietnam's galvanized steel industry to operate under market mechanisms and reduced anti-dumping duties on galvanized steel in its final determination.

These achievements are the result of government agencies issuing early warnings, providing information to companies, and coordinating with associations and foreign authorities to protect and support Vietnam's export industry, ensure fair treatment, and safeguard the rights and interests of enterprises by World Trade Organization (WTO) rules.

Especially in the context of upgrading Vietnam-US relations to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, the Ministry of Industry and Trade has proposed that the US Department of Commerce review and reconsider Vietnam's market economy status.

We are actively coordinating with various stakeholders to prepare documents and counter-arguments and lobby the US to make a positive and accurate review of Vietnam's market economy status.

How did the early warning and prevention of trade defense evasion and origin fraud work last year?

Vietnamese exports have been investigated in 37 cases of trade defense evasion, with four cases in 2023 alone.

The agency monitors and issues alerts for high-risk export goods to detect and address cases of non-compliance with origin requirements or minimum value-added processes in Vietnam.

Currently, the Ministry of Industry and Trade has updated the monitoring of more than 170 products, including the issuance of early warning lists for 18 products at risk of investigation and trade defense measures. This proactive approach assists ministries, sectors, localities and enterprises in responding to foreign trade defense measures, enabling them to develop production and export strategies and formulate appropriate handling plans.

A proactive business response required

Lighting products manufacturing line at Rang Dong Company.

What are the current barriers to trade remedy actions?

In the context of Vietnam's deepening integration into regional and global value chains, the number of trade defense cases will continue to increase.

However, the limited resources allocated to trade defense work create pressure to handle trade defense investigations efficiently.

Companies play a key role in handling trade defense investigations by providing relevant information, but many lack awareness or understanding of the trade remedy principles involved.

As a result, when companies are faced with investigations, they often feel confused and have difficulty accessing and dealing with the cases, sometimes even engaging in avoidance behavior.

This can lead to unfavorable outcomes for the companies themselves and can have a ripple effect on related industries.

What should companies do to minimize the risks associated with trade defense cases?

Enterprises should acquire the necessary knowledge of trade defense and actively provide timely and accurate information to the investigating authorities upon request to protect their legitimate interests.

Once the risks have been identified, enterprises must prepare in advance regarding their enterprise management system and review and audit accounting systems, records and documents to ensure accuracy, traceability and verifiability.

In addition, through risk assessment, they should reevaluate their business strategies, diversify markets, and cooperate and share information to respond.

What measures will the Ministry of Industry and Trade take in 2024 to improve the protection of domestic production and Vietnamese exports?

The Ministry will continue to propose improvements to the trade defense legal framework, ensuring that it aligns with practice and international commitments.

We will also implement Project 1335, "Promoting US Recognition of Vietnam as a Market Economy in Trade Defense Cases," which aims to facilitate Vietnamese exports to the US.

In addition, the agency will steadfastly protect the legitimate interests of domestic industries through investigations and the application of trade defense measures while adhering to the principles of transparency, legality, and compliance with Vietnam's international commitments.

Efforts will be made to improve early warning systems for foreign trade defense cases involving Vietnamese exports.

Thank you!

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