The U.S. Department of Commerce has initiated investigations to determine whether laminated woven sacks exported from Vietnam are being dumped in the U.S. or being unfairly subsidized by the Vietnamese government, marking the latest consumer product to be targeted by the Trump administration for these types of alleged violations.
The investigations stem from petitions filed by the Laminated Woven Sacks Fair Trade Coalition as well as its individual members, Houston-based Polytex Fibers Corp. and Cincinnati-based ProAmpac Holdings Inc., which allege a dumping margin range of 101.73% to 292.61% as well as 19 Vietnamese subsidy programs.
For the anti-dumping duty investigation, the Commerce Department will look at whether the laminated woven sacks from Vietnam are being dumped in the U.S. at less than fair value, while the countervailing duty investigation will explore whether the exporters are receiving unfair Vietnamese government subsidies.
Laminated woven sacks are typically used for retail packaging of consumer goods, including rice, pet foods and birdseed, according to the department.
According to Commerce Department data, the U.S. imported $21.1 million worth of laminated woven sacks from Vietnam in 2017.
Should the Commerce Department find that they are being dumped in the U.S. and that foreign exporters are receiving unfair government subsidies in conjunction with a finding by the U.S International Trade Commission, or ITC, that U.S. imports of the products are harming the domestic industry, the Commerce Department will impose duties equivalent to the dumping and/or subsidies rates.
The ITC will make its preliminary determinations on or before April 23. Should it find there is harm being done to the domestic industry, Commerce will continue its investigations, with a preliminary countervailing duty investigation due by May 31 and a preliminary antidumping duty result due by August 14.
These investigations into Vietnamese exporters marks the latest in a string of countervailing and antidumping duty investigations initiated by the Commerce Department.
The Commerce Department said it has initiated 104 antidumping and countervailing duty investigations since Trump was sworn in, which it said is a 100% increase between January 2017 and March 2018.
"With the doubling of the number of trade cases initiated since this same period last year, this administration has made it clear that we will vigorously administer antidumping and countervailing duty laws," Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said in a March 28 news release.
On Feb. 22, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said the agency had opened separate investigations on rubber bands imported from Thailand, China and Sri Lanka, which an American rubber band producer alleged were dumping in the U.S.. Preliminary determinations in the rubber band countervailing duty case are due by April 26 and the antidumping duty preliminary determinations are due by July 10.
In December 2017, Commerce imposed preliminary antidumping duties on certain fiber imports from India, China, South Korea and Taiwan following an investigation that found that certain Asian exports of fine denier polyester staple fiber were selling the products at less than fair value.