According to the provisions of the Law on Foreign Trade Management, on September 21, 2020, the Vietnam Ministry of Industry and Trade issued Decision No. 2466/QD-BCT on the anti-dumping and anti-subsidy investigation with sugar cane products originating from Thailand with the required file of the representative of the domestic industry.
In the process of implementing Vietnam’s commitment to ASEAN regarding the application of tariff quotas at the request of the WTO, Vietnam has removed tariff quotas on sugar imports for countries in the ASEAN region as of January 1, 2020. In the first 8 months of 2020, the volume of cane sugar imported into Vietnam increased sharply, reaching nearly 950,000 tons, or 6 times higher than the same period in 2019.
Accordingly, the output of cane sugar imported from Thailand to Vietnam accounted for the majority, up to nearly 860,000 tons (in the same period in 2019 it was only 145,000 tons, and in 2019 only 300,000 tons). A representative of the domestic industry shared that such a big increase in import volume has caused considerable damage to the domestic sugar industry. Domestic cane sugar production in 2019/2020 is estimated to have not reached the threshold of 800,000 tons, a sharp decrease compared to 1.2 million tons in 2018/2019.
Moreover, the domestic industry has also shared information and evidence that cane sugar products imported from Thailand are being dumped in Vietnam. The Thai government has been continuing a number of policies to support the sugarcane growing activities of the people in particular and the sugar industry in general.
The Ministry of Industry and Trade will investigate according to the provisions of law to be able to build a healthy competitive environment in the period of international economic integration, with the aim of protecting the legitimate rights and interests of the domestic industry against anti-competitive acts coming from abroad. Upcoming processes and procedures will be implemented in accordance with the Notice attached to Decision No. 2466/QD-BCT.
Based on the provisions of the Law on Foreign Trade Management, the Ministry of Industry and Trade may apply retroactive anti-dumping and anti-subsidy taxes to the taxed goods within a period of 90 days before subject to temporary anti-dumping and countervailing duties. Therefore, the Ministry of Industry and Trade has recommended that organizations and individuals when entering into contracts for import, distribution, trading, and use of investigated goods need to pay special attention to the possibility that goods may be subject to temporary anti-dumping and countervailing duties as well as retroactive anti-dumping and countervailing duties.
Upcoming activities of the Ministry of Industry and Trade
In compliance with legal regulations, after conducting the investigation, the Ministry of Industry and Trade will send investigation questions to relevant parties to collect information for the purpose of analyzing and verifying the information. The alleged acts include (i) dumping by Thai exporters; (ii) the Thai Government’s subsidy behavior towards Thai exporters; (iii) damage to Vietnam’s cane sugar industry; and (iv) the causal relationship between dumping, subsidies, and injury of the domestic industry.
The Ministry of Industry and Trade will conduct verification and clarification of information collected by related parties before making a final investigation conclusion on the case. In addition, the Ministry of Industry and Trade will also conduct public consultations so that relevant parties can directly exchange and provide information, as well as share their own views on the case before making an official conclusion with the case.
Finally, the Ministry of Industry and Trade has issued a recommendation to all organizations and individuals that are importing, exporting, distributing, trading, and using the investigated goods should register to become related parties to be able to provide important information to the Ministry of Industry and Trade for the purpose of ensuring the rights and interests of individuals as prescribed by law.