WASHINGTON- U.S. Senators John Boozman and Tom Cotton applauded a decision to impose antidumping duties on Vietnamese catfish exporters, a move that will help ensure Arkansas and all U.S. catfish producers can compete on a more level playing field.This action by the International Trade Administration (ITA) follows concerns raised by Boozman, Cotton and six other senators last fall.
The ITA this week issued its final determination on antidumping rates to impose on Vietnamese catfish exporters. The ITA found that Vietnamese firms continue to violate U.S. antidumping laws and the agency imposed higher penalties on offending export companies—some penalties as high as $3.87 per kilogram on imported frozen catfish fillets.
“This decision is good for Arkansas’s catfish producers who supply a safe, high-quality product for American consumers,” Boozman said. “When other countries dump inferior products in the U.S. market at prices below the cost of production, American farmers and consumers are the ones who lose. I will continue working to level the playing field for the domestic catfish industry. Our farmers can compete with anyone in the world, but they cannot compete against foreign governments who do not play by the rules.”
“Arkansas catfish farmers shouldn’t be forced out of business by foreign companies who cheat the system. These steep penalties will make those firms think twice before illegally dumping their inferior fish products into the U.S. market,” Cotton said.
In October 2018, Boozman and Cotton sent a letter to the Department of Commerce that raised concerns regarding questionable ITA actions in assessing antidumping duties on Vietnamese companies exporting frozen catfish fillets to the United States. A preliminary ITA determination issued in September 2018 recommended only nominal penalties on these companies. However, congressional interest in the matter prompted further investigation of the companies’ dumping practices, resulting in higher penalties being assessed for violations.
The ITA determination, combined with ongoing U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) catfish inspection, are providing U.S. catfish producers with a fairer competitive market overall and ensuring that stringent food safety requirements are being met.