Firms urged to up use of trade remedies

After more than 10 years of enforcing trade remedies laws, the number of trade investigations that Vietnam initiated against imported products were finally able to be counted on one hand, heard a conference on June 2.

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Vietnam launched four cases of safeguard investigation and two cases of anti-dumping investigations. No anti-subsidy investigation has been initiated, to date.

In comparison, Vietnamese products face roughly 100 trade defence investigations from foreign markets.

“The application of trade defence instruments by Vietnamese firms remains modest,” Pham Chau Giang, head of the Investigation Department under the Vietnam Competition Authority (VCA), said at the conference held by the VCA in collaboration with Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI).

“Local firms are still passive in using trade remedies although these instruments, allowed by the World Trade Organistion (WTO), were considered to be effective in protecting local production amid international integration,” she said.

Giang said that the awareness of businesses was low while the roles of industry associations had not been promoted.

Taking the steel industry as an example, Giang said that Vietnam imported 1.9 million tonnes of steel ingots last year, coupled with the local production capacity of 7.5 million tonnes, exceeding local demand which was estimated at 6.2 million tonnes.

“If trade remedies are not applied, local production will be pushed into difficulty,” she said.

According to Nguyen Thi Thu Trang, director of VCCI’s WTO Centre, steel was the product that caused Vietnam to launch three out of six trade defence investigations.

Trang said that the problem was that the human and financial resources of local businesses remained limited and trade defence was seemingly an instrument of firms holding controlling market shares.

In order to promote the application of trade defence instruments, Pham Tat Thang from the Ministry of Industry and trade said that Vietnamese businesses must enhance their knowledge on trade remedies and should get prepared in resources to be capable of using these instruments.

In addition, trade remedies laws should be revised to ensure consistency with the amended laws on investment, enterprise, import-export tax and customs, Thang said.