On June 21, 2023, the United States Department of Commerce (DOC) officially initiated an anti-dumping investigation into paper shopping bags imported from Cambodia, China, Colombia, India, Malaysia, Portugal, Taiwan, Turkey, and Vietnam.
Based on the petition filed on May 31, 2023, by the domestic manufacturing industry in the United States (Petitioner: Coalition for Fair Trade in Shopping Bags of USA), the DOC initiated an anti-dumping investigation on certain paper shopping bags with HS codes 4819.30.0040 and 4819.40.0040 imported from various countries, including Vietnam.
The period of investigation (POI) for anti-dumping in Vietnam is from October 1, 2022, to March 31, 2023. The alleged dumping margin for Vietnamese exporting companies ranges from 27.64% to 92.34%. It is worth noting that the anti-dumping duties have decreased from the initial allegations, ranging from 63.67% to 128.81%.
Important notes for Vietnamese businesses producing paper shopping bags for export to the United States
Prior to this, the United States issued Quantity and Value Questionnaires to relevant parties. In the Vietnamese market, all 14 companies mentioned in the petition have received these questionnaires.
Related businesses desiring to receive separate anti-dumping duties must submit a request for investigation, review, and cooperation along with the 14 aforementioned companies. This is necessary to obtain preferential duties because the general anti-dumping duties and subsidy duties are usually much higher than the separate duty rate (in cases where the business is genuinely not engaged in dumping, subsidies, or at a lower level than the applied general anti-dumping duties and subsidy duties).
According to the information in the initiation petition, the deadline for Chinese and Vietnamese companies to respond to the DOC’s Quantity and Value Questionnaire (Q&V) is before 5:00 p.m Eastern Daylight Time on July 5, 2023 (the next working day after two weeks from the issuance of the initiation notice). If necessary, Vietnamese companies can send a letter requesting an extension and provide a direct explanation of the reason to the DOC.
Similarly, other companies wishing to participate in the investigation (without receiving the questionnaires) can proactively download the questionnaires from the DOC’s official website and submit them to the investigating authority.
As the United States considers Vietnam a non-market economy, the DOC will use alternative surrogate values from other third countries to calculate the dumping margin for Vietnam. Accordingly, the DOC is expected to choose Indonesia as the surrogate country in the current case.
Parties have a 30-day deadline to comment on the surrogate country before the DOC issues the preliminary determination of the case. It is expected that the DOC will issue the preliminary determination within 140 days from the initiation of the investigation. This deadline may be extended.
Throughout the investigation period, relevant Vietnamese businesses should contact a reputable law firm specializing in anti-dumping and trade remedy to receive timely support and guidance in responding to the questionnaires and cooperating with the investigating authority to obtain a reasonable separate duty rate.
The initiation notice from the DOC can be downloaded here.