THE U.S. INTERNATIONAL Trade Commission (ITC) announced Aug. 8 that it had found reasonable cause that the U.S. catfish industry has been harmed by dumping of Vietnamese fish fillets into the U.S. market. The five-member ITC voted unanimously to send the case to the U.S. Department of Commerce for further study. The anti-dumping petition to the ITC, brought by Catfish Farmers of America (CFA), was filed on June 28.
“The (ITC's) decision will allow the U.S. Department of Commerce to proceed with its investigation of whether frozen basa and tra fillets from Vietnam have been unfairly traded,” said a CFA press release.
Hugh Warren, executive vice president of CFA, says nothing has happened with the case since the Aug. 8 meeting. “We're just digesting what this means and waiting for the Department of Commerce to move along with the procedures they need to follow. It'll probably be early December before we hear anything from this next stage. So we've got a break from this for a little while.”
Warren says CFA will likely have to update the briefs they've presented to trade officials.
“But right now, the Commerce Department is gathering information from the Vietnamese side of the situation as to cost numbers and so forth. The vote (in the CFA's favor) kicked off the process.”
Any settlement possibilities?
“I don't know where either party stands on the likelihood of that. At this point, that's not an issue,” says Warren.