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Vietnam firms seen lax in using trade barriers
Publication Date : 07-04-2014
Vietnamese exporters are usually passive in pursuing trade-related lawsuits, while during difficult economic times, other countries started actively using trade defence instruments to protect their domestic production.
This observation was highlighted at a recent conference on effective response and use of trade defence instruments held in HCM City by Vietnam Competition Authority (VCA) and European Trade Policy and Investment Support Project (EU-MUTRAP).
Experts agreed that the increased use of trade defence instruments in other countries led to Vietnamese products being stuck in more anti-dumping lawsuits, especially in the case of its key export products and key importing markets.
According to VCA, between 1994 and 2013, Vietnamese enterprises were involved in 74 trade remedy cases, including 43 anti-dumping cases.
During the 15 years between 1994 and 2007, there were 33 cases against Vietnamese exporters, but in the last five years, there were reportedly 38 cases in which the defendants were usually small and medium enterprises or foreign direct investment companies employing many labourers.
As published in Cong Thuong (Industry and Trade) newspaper last week, Dinh Thi My Loan, the chairwoman of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry's consultation council for international trade defence stated that the lawsuits caused losses to Vietnamese enterprises, including increased costs to pursue the lawsuits, thus reducing their competitiveness, threatening reduction in export value, or even losing markets.
"As Vietnam is integrating deeper into the international economy, its access to free trade area agreements can not only help to boost exports and expand markets, but also face more trade defence lawsuits," Loan noted.
According to Deputy Head of Trade Remedies Board under VCA Pham Huong Giang, Vietnamese exporters adopted a passive approach toward lawsuits, as they did not have sufficient information and clear awareness about the risks of trade defence lawsuits and their consequences.
Moreover, they did not follow the lawsuits properly.
Giang asserted that the enterprises need to utilise trade defence instruments through increasing their understanding about the defence trade law.
Additionally, they have to participate in appealing procedures in a serious and responsible manner as well as cooperate with investigators and seek help from the state authorities and Viet Nam's trade counsellors based in foreign countries.
She added that currently, Vietnam has set up an early warning system aimed at providing enterprises with information about key markets, their regulations, import-export data, and warnings on possible lawsuits.
As of now, the warning system provides information related to the major markets of US, EU, Canada, Brazil, India, Australia, Korea, and Japan and 11 key export products. Enterprises can find further information at the website canhbaosom.vn (Earlywarning.vn).