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Commerce Department: Vietnam subsidizing woven sack exporters

The U.S. will impose duties ranging from 3.24% to 6.15% on imports of laminated woven sacks from Vietnam after finding that the Vietnamese government subsidized exporters of the product.

As a result, the U.S. will now collect varying duties from Vietnamese exporters and producers of laminated woven sacks, which are typically used in the packaging of consumer goods, such as rice, birdseed and pet food, according to the U.S. Commerce Department.

The agency issued duties of 3.24% for Duong Vinh Hoa Packaging Co. Ltd., 6.15% for Xinsheng Plastic Industry Co. Ltd. and 5.19% for all other Vietnamese laminated woven sacks producers and exporters following a countervailing duty investigation, which looked at whether imports of goods into the U.S. were being unfairly subsidized by foreign governments, creating an unfair playing field for American companies.

The U.S. imported $21.13 million, or 8,755 metric tons, of laminated woven sacks from Vietnam in 2017, according to the department.

The agency initiated the investigation in March after petitions by the Laminated Woven Sacks Fair Trade Coalition as well as Houston-based Polytex Fibers Corp. and Cincinnati-based ProAmpac Holdings Inc., which argued that laminated woven sacks exported from Vietnam were being dumped in the U.S. or being unfairly subsidized by the Vietnamese government.

The Commerce Department is expected to release its final countervailing duty investigation determination on or about Dec. 17. The U.S. International Trade Commission will then make its own final decision and duty determination on or about Jan. 31, 2019.

Although Vietnamese laminated woven sacks mark a relatively small U.S. import market, the investigation is the latest one undertaken by the Trump administration, which has initiated 120 new countervailing and antidumping duty investigations, which it claims to be a 216% increase from the Obama administration over the same period.

The Trump administration has also opened investigations into rubber bands imported from Thailand, China and Sri Lanka, as well as certain fiber imports from India, China, South Korea and Taiwan.