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Commerce Department Finds No Dumping Of Vietnamese Apparel

James A. Morrissey, Washington Correspondent

As the Bush administration wraps up its 18-month long monitoring of apparel imports from Vietnam, it has concluded there is no evidence of dumping and sees no cause for self-initiating any anti-dumping investigations. Responding to pressure from the US textile industry and its supporters in Congress, the Department of Commerce began monitoring imports from Vietnam shortly after Vietnam was accepted into the World Trade Organization. At the time the program was started, US Trade Representative Susan C. Schwab said it would run only until the end of the Bush administration.

Under the program, Commerce examined imports of trousers, shirts, underwear, swimwear and sweaters and issued a report every six months. The department compared trends in unit values and import levels from a wide variety of countries in Central America as well as Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Macau, Malaysia, Pakistan, the Philippines and Thailand. In  announcing results of the final six-month survey, David Spooner, assistant secretary of  commerce for import administration, said: “This final investigation reveals that prices of Vietnam apparel are in line with, and in most cases even exceed, other major suppliers.”

US Association of Importers of Textiles and Apparel Executive Director Laura Jones, who has been highly critical of the monitoring program from the outset, praised the department’s final conclusion, and said: “The fact that three Administration reviews have consistently found no evidence of dumping confirms that this program never should have been established in the first place.” She charged that the monitoring forced importers to change sourcing plans, adding to costs and undermining efficiencies and diverted apparel orders to other sources and “did not bring a single order or job to the United States.”

Jones urged the incoming Obama administration to “focus on positive initiatives and not make the mistake of thinking monitoring is a replacement for sound business decisions.”

November 25, 2008

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