General secretary of the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP), Nguyen Huu Dung, said he was still not clear about when the suit would be filed, but recent news reports suggested that the Southern Shrimp Alliance would file the application on December 30.
“No one knows when the US shrimp lobby will file the application, but their determination to proceed with the case is clear,” Dung said.
Rumour has it that the Southern Shrimp Alliance and Louisiana Shrimp Alliance have threatened to take action against shrimp imports from countries such as China, Vietnam, Thailand, India and Ecuador.
Dung said VASEP had been working with the possibility of such a case in mind, lecturing businesses about US anti-dumping laws, studying the US shrimp industry’s advantages and disadvantages and formulating arguments to prove local exporters had not undercut prices.
He estimated that Vietnam would need between $1.2 and $1.5 million to proceed with the case, with funds to be raised from local shrimp exporters.
Dung said the shrimp committee, which was established a few months ago to deal with the case, was selecting law companies to assist local exporters.
Le Thanh Son, managing director of AIC Lawyers and Consultants, which has applied to assist exporters in this case, said Vietnam should be assisted by qualified lawyers if it wanted to win the law suit.
Son said the Southern Shrimp Alliance was trying to win the US government’s assistance under the Byrd Amendment or the Dumping and Subsidy Offset Act, a law which the World Trade Organisation wants abolished.
Under the law, Son said, those who initiate or support anti-dumping cases would receive financial aid from higher taxes from the Federal government.
However, American Seafood Distributors Association (ASDA) president Wally Stevens has said that an effort to impose trade barriers would prove exhausting, divisive, expensive and ultimately ineffective.
The ASDA, which represents more than 150,000 US workers and companies that buy, sell and distribute seafood, said it made preparations to defend itself against any anti-dumping allegations.
“We will vigorously defend free trade and the interests of the American consumer,” it said in a statement.
An ASDA White Paper said because domestic shrimp supplies were not nearly adequate to satisfy growing demand, the US market had come to rely on imported shrimp from a number of countries.
The paper said that the technological revolution in recent years had helped shrimp aquaculture in these countries to gain “enormous competitive advantages such as lower production costs, the ability to make on-time deliveries and control of future availability”.
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