US denies poultry dumping claims

Recent Vietnamese press reports that US chicken is being "dumped" in Vietnam have prompted a strong denial by the head of the USA Poultry & Egg Export Council (USAPEEC).

Local newspaper coverage of a Vietnamese livestock association complaint that US chicken is being sold at prices much lower than domestically produced product has apparently angered poultry farmers.

US chicken parts are sold in Vietnam at the same or higher prices than in the United States, so under World Trade Organisation rules they are not being dumped, according to USAPEEC President Jim Sumner.

Vietnamese poultry producers, meanwhile, are struggling to remain profitable in the face of high prices for feed grains.

"We are very sympathetic that this situation is affecting local producers," Sumner said. "Consumers should keep in mind that the complaint is about US frozen leg products that do not directly compete with fresh locally produced whole chickens, which is the preferred product of Vietnamese consumers."

Sumner said that USAPEEC and the US poultry industry had always been supportive of the Vietnamese poultry industry, conducting various seminars and workshops aimed at supporting food safety and biosecurity practices for the local poultry industry.

In the early 2000s, USAPEEC came to the assistance of the local poultry industry during the devastating avian influenza crisis, developing materials aimed at informing Vietnamese consumers that cooked poultry was safe and encouraging consumers to support their industry.

USAPEEC and its members also donated containers of US chicken leg quarters to VIPA, the Vietnamese poultry association. These were sold at auction to fund educational materials to help Vietnamese producers protect themselves against the spread of avian influenza.

Also, USAPEEC and other US agricultural exporters have expressed strong support in the US Congress for Vietnam's objective to increase Vietnamese exports of footwear and clothing to the US in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations.

Two-thirds of the chicken leg quarters produced in the US are consumed in the US. Those remaining are sold to more than 125 countries around the world, including Vietnam at similar prices as in the US.

Working with the US grains industry, USAPEEC also helped Vietnamese government officials to write the country's new laws governing food safety, plant health, and veterinary drug use.

Many of these activities were aimed at increasing the availability, affordability, and ultimately the consumption of chicken in Vietnam.