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Vietnam to monitor hot apparel exports to US   2008-09-14 - ThanhNien

Workers at the Thang Loi Apparel Company in Ho Chi Minh City.  
Vietnam will step up its monitoring of apparel exports to the US market to prevent price drops that could trigger anti-dumping measures from the US administration, an official said.



The official from the Ministry of Industry and Trade, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said makers of hot apparel items would have to apply directly for Certificates of Origins (COs).

COs, which are compulsory for exporters to clear customs, are currently granted to all apparel exporters automatically.

If monitors find any problems with CO applications, the applicants’ products would not be granted customs clearance for export to the US

The nine categories to be monitored include knit shirts and blouses, non-knit shirts and blouses, sweaters, trousers, breeches, shorts and underwear.

The official said the monitoring measure would prevent an excess of Vietnamese exports from landing in the US market, which could trigger major price drops and ultimately harm the industry.

Le Quoc An from the Vietnam Textile and Apparel Association (Vitas) warned recently that local apparel exports to US were dropping in price.

The prices were lower than those offered by exporters from the Central America Free Trade Agreement and the Dominican Republic (CAFTA-DR), he said.

CAFTA-DR is a free trade agreement offering signatories relatively open access to one another’s market while protecting their markets with tariffs and barriers against other exporters.

US textile and apparel businesses decide whether or not to take legal action against foreign companies they allege of dumping prices in the US market by comparing those prices to CAFTA-DR prices.

Statistics from the US Department of Commerce said the prices of some popular Vietnamese apparel products were lower in the first half of 2008 than the same period last year.

Men’s cotton knit shirts, for instance, fell from US$46.86 to $45.24 a dozen, while women’s cotton knit shirts went from $36.26 to $34.83 a dozen year-on-year, according to the department.

Strong growth

Vietnam has become a major apparel supplier to the US, leaping by almost 28 percent in value over the first four months of this year to hit $1.5 billion, according to a report by Textiles Intelligence, a provider of information to the fibre, textile and apparel industry.

Imports from Vietnam have grown strongly since the country joined the World Trade Organization (WTO) in January 2007.

The report said many apparel buyers who placed orders with Chinese manufacturers in 2007 appear to have shifted their sourcing to Vietnam in January-April 2008.

Several Chinese producers have set up new operations in Vietnam since the beginning of 2008, in search of lower labor costs.

The growth in US imports from Vietnam has continued apace despite the establishment of a monitoring program by the Bush administration when Vietnam joined the WTO.

The program was established at the behest of the US textile industry to review US textile and clothing imports from Vietnam and was designed to self-initiate anti-dumping cases if there was evidence of injurious dumping.

At the time, many industry observers believed that the program for monitoring imports from Vietnam would scare buyers away from placing orders with Vietnamese factories in favor of those in China and other Asian countries.

However, on the contrary, Vietnam was one of the fastest growing US textile and clothing suppliers in 2007 and has continued to perform well in 2008.

The US government has conducted two separate reviews of textile and clothing imports from Vietnam – one in autumn 2007 and the other in spring 2008.

On each occasion, it determined that there was no evidence of injurious dumping.

US authorities will conduct a final review of imports in autumn 2008 and the monitoring program will expire shortly afterwards.

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