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US poultry council denies Vietnam’s dumping complaint

A Georgia-based trade organization has denied complaints by Vietnamese poultry businesses that chicken products imported from the U.S. are being dumped at below-market prices in Vietnam.

The Animal Husbandry Association in southeastern Vietnam and its counterpart in the southern province of Dong Nai last week signed petitions for a dumping investigation to be undertaken into U.S.-imported chicken.

Chicken leg quarters imported from the U.S. are on sale at Metro in Ho Chi Minh City on July 29, 2015.
Chicken leg quarters imported from the U.S. are on sale at Metro in Ho Chi Minh City on July 29, 2015.

Such actions, along with several reports from local media that U.S. chicken is being dumped in the Southeast Asian country, have “prompted a strong denial by the head of the USA Poultry & Egg Export Council (USAPEEC),” the association located in Georgia said in a press release on Monday (U.S. time).

USAPEEC president Jim Sumner asserted that U.S. chicken parts are sold in Vietnam at the same or higher prices than in the United States.

“So under World Trade Organization rules they are not being dumped,” he said in the document obtained by Tuoi Tre News.

The USAPEEC attributed the hardship of Vietnamese poultry producers to “high prices for feed grains,” implying that imports from the U.S. do not hurt their business.

Sumner said the USAPEEC is “very sympathetic” that the situation is affecting local producers.

“Consumers should keep in mind that the complaint is about U.S. frozen leg products, and these products do not directly compete with fresh locally-produced whole chicken, which is the preferred product of Vietnamese consumers,” he added.

The move came after Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper reported on July 1that chicken legs shipped from the U.S. are on sale in the Southeast Asian country at only US$0.9 a kg, or VND20,000.

In 2013, the price was a bit higher, $1.5 a kg.

Comparison of prices in VND of different chicken parts between domestic (right) and imported products. Photo: Tuoi Tre

The director of a Dong Nai-based poultry company was then quoted by the newspaper as saying that such a price is “as cheap as vegetables,” which no local meat suppliers are able to undercut.

The Animal Husbandry Association in southeastern Vietnam said its recent market research in the U.S. has found that chicken legs and wings there are being sold at prices four to five times more expensive than they are in Vietnam.

“Chicken legs in supermarkets in the U.S. fetch VND70,000-80,000 [$3.2-3.6] a kg, compared to VND20,000 a kg in Vietnam,” said Le Van Quyet, the association’s deputy chairman.

In the meantime, the USAPEEC president said two-thirds of the chicken leg quarters produced in the U.S. are consumed at home.

“Those remaining are sold to more than 125 countries around the world, including Vietnam, at similar prices [to those] in the U.S,” he said.

The primary U.S. chicken parts shipped to Vietnam are leg quarters, legs and feet, according to the USAPEEC, which works to promote exports of U.S. poultry and eggs around the world.

Sumner said that the USAPEEC and the U.S. poultry industry have always been very supportive of the Vietnamese poultry industry, conducting various seminars and workshops aimed at supporting food safety and bio-security practices for the local poultry industry.

Such activities are meant to increase the availability, affordability and ultimately the consumption of chicken in Vietnam, according to the official.

“The U.S. industry has no interest in marginalizing the Vietnamese poultry industry, or in competing directly with domestically produced products, as increased poultry consumption benefits everyone,” Sumner asserted.

Sumner added that in 2010, China brought dumping charges against the United States chicken industry, but the World Trade Organization ruled in favor of the U.S. after a lengthy legal process that cost both countries significant time and resources.