Timber exporters urged to prepare for increased trade remedy investigations
VIETNAM, August 8 –
HÀ NỘI — Experts have urged timber exporters to diversify markets, standardize supply chains and be well equipped with trade defense knowledge in the face of growing trade protectionism.
According to the Việt Nam Forestry Administration, the stronger the timber export, the more likely the timber industry is to face trade defense lawsuits.
Ngô Sỹ Hoài, vice-president of the Vietnam Association of Wood and Forest Products, said that Việt Nam’s wood exports have increased sharply in recent years.
Việt Nam is currently the fifth largest timber exporter in the world, Hoài said, adding that alongside the trend of trade liberalization with several free trade agreements (FTAs) signed by Việt Nam, other countries increased trade defense measures with Việt Nam.
Statistics from the Việt Nam Forestry Administration show that exports of timber and forest products were estimated at S$10.4 billion in the first seven months of the year. Last year, timber exports set a record $16 billion, a 20% increase from 2020.
Besides the imposition of anti-dumping and anti-subsidy duties, Việt Nam faced other risks, including US investigations into illegal logging and the timber trade.
Nguyễn Thị Thu Trang, director of the WTO and the Integration Center of the Việt Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said that the United States was the market where Vietnamese products were exposed to a high risk of trade lawsuits, citing statistics that the United States initiated 1,159 out of 7,528 trade remedy investigations worldwide between 1995 and 2021.
However, companies were not well prepared in terms of trade remedy knowledge and resources to deal with investigations.
Not only timber, but other products whose exports were increasing significantly were exposed to the risk of trade remedy investigations.
The investigation trend was becoming more and more intensive and rigorous, said Chu Thắng Trung, deputy director of the Ministry of Industry and Trade Remedies Authority of Việt Nam.
Trung said FTAs open great opportunities for Vietnamese products to expand into overseas markets and increase production capacity. On the other hand, Vietnamese products faced an increased risk of investigation and trade remedy.
He cited statistics that Vietnam’s export products faced 220 trade defense investigation cases as of the end of July.
Trung said trade defense is an inevitable trend in the integration process. It also demonstrated that the production and export capacity of Vietnam’s economy is developing and competitive enough to put pressure on domestic industries in importing countries, forcing the application of trade remedies to protect domestic industries, he said. he declared.
Trung said companies should diversify markets to disperse risk.
He said it is also important for companies to strictly abide by production and trade laws and not engage in acts of origin fraud or illegal transhipment. If fraud or illegal transhipment were detected, the importing country could apply heavy penalties and, in many cases, companies could lose their markets, he said.
Trung added that companies should also focus on developing the national production chain and origin traceability system, which was a direction of sustainable development to reduce the risk of investigation. —VNS