After completing a six-month review of Vietnam apparel import data, the US Department of Commerce
(DOC) says there is no reason to self-initiate an anti-dumping case against Vietnam, triggering a
call from importers to drop the monitoring program.
As a condition for the US Congress to support Vietnam’s accession to the World Trade
Organization, Commerce Secretary Carlos M. Guitierrez and US Trade Representative Susan C. Schwab
agreed to conduct monitoring of certain textile and apparel products from Vietnam. The second in a
series of six-month reviews was completed last week.
Commerce Assistant Secretary for Import Administration David Spooner said the latest
investigation reveals that prices of Vietnamese apparel are in line with, and in most cases exceed,
other major suppliers, including Central America. Products covered in the survey included trousers,
shirts, underwear, swimwear and sweaters.
Following a review of the data, Spooner said there is insufficient evidence to self-initiate
an anti-dumping investigation, but he said the monitoring program will continue until the end of
the Bush administration.
Cass Johnson, president of the National Council of Textile Organizations, pretty much agreed
with the DOC, saying data tracked by his organization do not show any indication of dumping
products into the US market. Noting that apparel imports from Vietnam increased significantly
during the latest monitoring period, Spooner said Vietnam likely is taking trade away from
Bangladesh and China, and probably from some Central American countries.
Laura E. Jones, executive director of the US Association of Importers of Textiles and
Apparel, called for an end to the monitoring program, saying it is unnecessary and “does absolutely
nothing to help US textile manufacturers.” On the other hand, she says it does “real damage to
American consumers” because they have fewer choices and higher prices.
Charging the monitoring program is the result of a political deal with Sens. Elizabeth Dole,
R-N.C., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., Jones said: “Not a single US apparel producer has asked for the
monitoring program. This was done for US fabric and yarn makers, and they don’t benefit from
undermining Vietnam’s competitiveness.” Jones said orders that have moved from Vietnam because of
the uncertainty created by the monitoring program are going to Asia.
May 13, 2008