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|Minh Phu is facing charges of tariff evasion in the US|
Republican representative from Illinois, Darin LaHood sent a letter to the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) commissioner Kevin McAleenan requesting an investigation into allegations that Vietnam’s Minh Phu Seafood is possibly evading anti-dumping duties on shrimp from India.
“An e-allegation was filed with the US CBP on May 12, 2019, under case reference No.e559A512201919. Based on the information contained in this case, I request that the CBP investigate whether a US importer and its related companies in Vietnam are evading anti-dumping duties on shrimp from India. The information also suggests that these companies may be in violation of the US Seafood Import Monitoring Program,” Darin LaHood wrote in his letter.
“Data included in the case file indicates that shrimp producers in India also ramped up their exports of shrimp merchandise to Vietnam. Major increases of shrimp exports to Vietnam from India also began occurring immediately after the Vietnam shrimp anti-dumping order was revoked against Minh Phu Group in 2016. In conclusion, the information, data, and charts included in case No.e559A512201919 allege that Mseafood entered merchandise covered by the India shrimp anti-dumping duties through evasion,” LaHood stressed.
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Minh Phu has yet to receive any information or requests from the CBP or any US government agency regarding the allegation. Currently, the group still exports shrimps to the US as normal.
Regarding the import of Indian shrimp and export to the US, Minh Phu does not deny that it has imported a small portion of its shrimps from India to supplement processing materials and compensate for the shortage of raw shrimps in Vietnam.
The amount of shrimps imported from India only accounts for a relatively small proportion of 10 per cent.
With the expansion of domestic farming areas in Ca Mau, Kien Giang, Ninh Thuan, Vung Tau, and other provinces in the coming years, Minh Phu will reduce importing materials from abroad.
Minh Phu affirmed that LaHood’s letter is simply a request based on the allegations from one side, there is no evidence and no decision or conclusion by any state agency on this issue.
As per the advice from Minh Phu's legal counsellor, after CBP receives requests, allegations from related parties or another state agency, in accordance with the Enforce and Protect Act of 2015, it will have 95 days to consider the information related to the allegations before initiating investigation.
Even if there is no official information from CBP, these allegations caused Minh Phu's stock to drop heavily, losing 20 per cent of its value over a single week, falling from VND43,000 ($1.9) to VND33,800 ($1.5) per share, which resulted in more than VND1.2 trillion ($52.17 million) of its market capitalisation "evaporating".