Box 2.2 Swimming upstream: The case of Vietnamese catfish
On July 22, 2003, the New York Times wrote the following editorial that illustrates well the vicissitudes of exporters in antidumping waters:
. . . After embracing decidedly un-Marxist reforms, Vietnam became one of globalization’s brightest stories in the 1990’s. The nation, a onetime rice importer, transformed itself into the world’s second largest rice exporter and a player in the global coffee trade. The rural poverty rate was slashed to 30 percent from 70 percent. The normalization of ties between Hanoi and Washington brought American trade missions bent on expanding Vietnamese free enterprise. One of these delegations saw in the Mekong Delta’s catfish a golden export opportunity, with the region’s natural conditions and cheap labor affording Vietnam a competitive advantage. Sure enough, within a few years, an estimated half-million Vietnamese were living off a catfish trade nurtured by private entrepreneurs. Vietnam captured 20 percent of the frozen catfish-fillet market in the United States, driving down prices. To the dismay of the Mississippi Farm Bureau, even some restaurants in that state—the center of the American catfish industry—were serving the Vietnamese species.
Soon . . . Vietnamese farmers were caught in a nasty two-front war being waged by the Catfish Farmers of America, the trade group representing Mississippi Delta catfish farmers. The Mississippi catfish farmers are generally not huge agribusinesses, and many of them struggle to make ends meet. But that still does not explain how the United States, the international champion of free market competition, could decide to rig the catfish game to cut out the very Vietnamese farmers whose enterprise it had originally encouraged.
Last year . . . the American catfish farmers managed to persuade Congress to overturn science. An amendment, improbably attached to an appropriations bill, declared that out of 2,000 catfish types, only the American-born family—named Ictaluridae—could be called ‘catfish.’ So the Vietnamese could market their fish in America only by using the Vietnamese terms “basa” and ‘tra’. . . . Catfish Farmers of America, ran advertisements warning of a ‘slippery catfish wannabe,’ saying such fish were ‘probably not even sporting real whiskers’ and ‘float around in Third World rivers nibbling on who knows what.’ Not satisfied with its labeling triumph—an old trade-war trick perfected by the Europeans—the American group initiated an antidumping case against Vietnamese catfish. And for the purposes of this proceeding, Congressional taxonomy notwithstanding, the fish in question were once again regarded as catfish, not basa or tra. . . .
Antidumping cases involve allegations that imports are being sold more cheaply than they are back home or below cost, practices rightly banned by trade laws. . . . In this case, the Commerce Department had no evidence that the imported fish were being sold in America more cheaply than in Vietnam, or below their cost of production. But rather than abandoning the Mississippi catfish farmers to the forces of open competition, the department simply declared Vietnam a “nonmarket” economy. The designation allowed it simply to stipulate that there must be something suspect going on somewhere—that Vietnamese farmers must not be covering all the costs they would in a functioning market economy. Tariffs ranging from 37 percent to 64 percent have been slapped by the department on Vietnamese catfish. . . .
Prices along the Mekong crashed, as the exporters who buy his fish moved to protect their margins.. . . Faced with the prospect of losing their investment, [farmers] might be shocked to learn that [the] Commerce Department says they do not operate in a free market. . .
The United States International Trade Commission, an administrative agency in Washington, provided its final verdict on July 23. The verdict stated that the American catfish industry was hurt by unfair competition due to dumping by Vietnam—making the tariffs permanent.
Source: New York Times, July 22, 2003.
Собственно, нашлась даже ссылка на полный текст статьи - http://www.fntg.org/news/index.php?op=read&articleid=729
Более того - нашелся целый безумный архив расследования этого дела в Департаменте торговли. Окончательное заявление - http://www.ita.doc.gov/media/FactSheet/0603/catfish_final_061703.html (catfish - прямо в названии документа).
Но лучше всего - промежуточные, внутренние документы. Характерно, что расположены они в директории, так и называемой - http://ia.ita.doc.gov/download/vietnam-catfish
Самый фантастический, на мой взгляд, документ - это меморандум на девяносто с лишком страниц, лежащий по адресу http://ia.ita.doc.gov/download/vietnam-catfish/vietnam-frozen-fish-fillets-final-decision-memo.pdf. Его все-таки стоит открыть и прочитать любую страницу наугад. Вот, например, претензии к одной из вьетнамских фирм, производящих этого несчастного сома:
The Petitioners argue that Nam Viet’s factors of production data were not timely submitted. According to the Petitioners, in its February 11, 2003 supplemental questionnaire, the Department explicitly requested Nam Viet to report complete factor data for all stages of production for the twelve month period (April 1, 2001-March 31, 2002). However, the Petitioners argue, notwithstanding these clear instructions, Nam Viet inexplicably reported factor information for a different, self-selected period (i.e., November 1, 2001 through October 2002). The Petitioners claim that Nam Viet gave no explanation as to why it did not report the factor information for the correct period.
The Petitioners argue that Nam Viet provided late information regarding its farming and processing stages at verification. See Nam Viet Verification Report at 2. According to the Petitioners, the Department should not consider this untimely, new and incomplete data for the final determination. The Petitioners also argue that Nam Viet lacks complete factor data for all stages of production between April 2001 and March 2002.
Further, the Petitioners argue, Nam Viet has withheld requested information. The Petitioners note that the Department’s verification revealed that, despite numerous opportunities to do so, Nam Viet failed entirely to report a number of factor inputs, including coal consumed in the feed production stage and rice husk consumed in the by-products facility.
The Petitioners also argue that Nam Viet’s failure to report accurate information has significantly impeded the Department’s investigation. The Petitioners assert that despite the numerous opportunities to submit complete data, the verifiers found several significant discrepancies in the consumption figures reported by Nam Viet. The Petitioners argue that Nam Viet misreported monthly consumption quantities for fish skin, tripolyphosphate, and fish powder. See Nam Viet Verification Report at 1.
According to the Petitioners, the Department also verified other serious errors in Nam Viet’s submitted data. Specifically, the Petitioners argue that in its March 4, 2003 supplemental Section D response, Nam Viet reported and claimed a significant by-product credit for fish skin between November 2001 and October 2002. However, the Petitioners note, the Department verified that Nam Viet actually sold a substantially lower amount. The Petitioners also note that Nam Viet failed to disclose important factual information concerning its corporate structure until the Department’s verification. For example, the Petitioners argue, Nam Viet failed to disclose the identities of three Vice-Directors until verification. See Id. at 4. Citing the Nam Viet Verification Report, the Petitioners note that these Vice-Directors have direct operational control over departments involved in the production, marketing, and sale of subject merchandise. See Id. The Petitioners argue that this untimely disclosure of key officers hindered the Department’s ability to examine whether any of these individuals are government officials or are related with other exporters of frozen fish fillets. As a result, the Petitioners claim, the record evidence cannot support a finding that Nam Viet is eligible for a separate rate or has no affiliations with other exporters relevant to the Department’s antidumping analysis.
The Petitioners also argue that Nam Viet was not able to reconcile the net quantity recorded in its production records with gross quantity recorded in its sales ledgers. See Id. at 9. According to the Petitioners, given the fundamental importance of correct sales production quantities for the factor calculations, Nam Viet’s inability to provide records, schedules, or reasonable calculations from original source documents kept in the ordinary course of business permitting this reconciliation suggests that the response as a whole is unreliable. The Petitioners argue incomplete factors of production data, the numerous deficiencies, discrepancies, inaccurate data, and untimely disclosure of key information undermine the credibility of Nam Viet’s responses. Therefore, the Petitioners argue, these circumstances compel the Department to resort to total facts available for Nam Viet in the final determination.
Дураку ведь ясно - если какая-то вьетнамская фирма сообщила вашингтонскому начальству данные о составе своих издержек за период с ноября по октябрь, а не с апреля по март, как от них, дикарей, ясно требовали, да еще не всю подноготную о своих вице-директорах рассказали, то и рыба ихняя американскому покупателю вредна и мерзопакостна, почему и следует обложить ее 60-процентной пошлиной.