It is almost 10 years since Vietnam has issued ordinances on anti-dumping, anti-subsidy and safeguard measures. These ordinances have not been effectively promoted during the implementation process. Meanwhile, Vietnam commodities exported to foreign markets are constantly being sued for anti-dumping and anti-subsidy.
Recently, two steel companies have filed a lawsuit against the dumping of stainless cold-rolled steel products imported from China, Malaysia, Indonesia and Taiwan to the Competition Administration Department (Ministry of Industry and Trade). This is seen as an important event, which attracts great interests from local businesses, especially manufacturing businesses. The trade remedies taken by the domestic firms to protect their rights will be the basis for more proactive integration of the businesses.
Trade remedies neglected
According to the WTO, amongst 10 countries including Japan, India, Korea, China that often use anti-dumping lawsuits as trade remedies, most of them are main importers of large quantities of Vietnamese products. Thus, the unfair competition taking place in the Vietnam market is unavoidable. Although Vietnam has ordinances against dumping as a tool to support domestic producers, in recent years, this self-defence tool is rarely used, with only a handful of cases.
Mr Le Sy Giang, Deputy Head of the Competition Administration Department ‘s Trade Remedies Division, the said that in the current period, the anti-dumping laws are effectively used by foreign enterprises. And in Vietnam, although the ordinance on this matter was issued in 2004, along with a series of legal documents guiding the implementation, for over 10 years, Vietnam enterprises have not fully taken advantages of the ordinance.
According to the General Statistics Office of Vietnam, up to now, Vietnam enterprises have been subject to nearly 70 cases of anti-dumping and anti-subsidy in many countries while domestic enterprises only have used trade remedies three times to protect its interests, of which there are two trade defence cases and one anti-dumping cases. Currently the exporting enterprises of Vietnam in general, and the seafood exporting enterprises in particular are always facing anti-dumping lawsuits, many of which lasts for many years and relates to leading exports of Vietnam.
There is a paradox that although the products, including chemicals, textiles, plastics, metals and electronics, that Vietnam is importing in large quantities are subject to anti-dumping of many countries, they are welcomed in the Vietnamese market.
Vietnamese businesses have not paid enough attention to the Vietnamese market that the low quality products are sold at cheap price and in uncontrolled quantities in Vietnamese market. This will put Vietnamese enterprises under tough competition unless no anti-dumping measures are taken.
Ms Dinh Thi My Loan, Chairwoman of the Advisory Council on International Trade Remedies (Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry) says: “Vietnamese businesses are ignoring one of the important trade remedies legally allowed in Vietnam and in accordance with the rules of international trade, to file a lawsuit to foreign companies for dumping in the Vietnam market. It is time to awaken this measure. ”
Coordination between business and authorities is necessary
According to economists, although the documents and ordinances to protect domestic producers are issued, most businesses do not use them as trade remedies. The main reason is that the business community and authorities have limited awareness. Consequently, for past 10 years, most domestic enterprises have been suffering from the unfair competition and trade defence cases, but they seldom raise their voices or take action to protect domestic production.
According to a business leader in the field of manufacturing and trading steel, Vietnamese businesses are afraid of litigation and the costs of lawsuits, so they are always in the passive voice. Only when their businesses are in trouble do they start thinking about that. This makes Vietnam lag behind other countries in the region such as Thailand, China, Indonesia, etc.
The enterprises reflected that the current situation also partly stems from the functional agencies. The lawsuits usually take enterprises a lot of time, cost and preparation and require full and accurate data. These requirements are hard to meet in a short time. According to Ms Dinh Thi My Loan, it is difficult for enterprises to access current information and collect records. Although Vietnam has many functional authorities such as General Statistics Office of Vietnam, Ministry of Industry and Trade, and General Department of Vietnam Customs, the data from these agencies never fit together at all.
According to Ms Loan, Vietnamese businesses should be prepared for human resources, finance and time to pursue the matter before deciding to participate in the anti-dumping lawsuits. To protect the legitimate rights and interests, expand the export markets, and take advantages of international trade, domestic businesses need to know how to effectively use trade remedies. This is an important basis to improve businesses competitiveness when participating in international trade.