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|Minh Phu is one of the leading seafood firms in Viet Nam. It is currently accused of tax evasion in the US. - Photo cafef.vn|
Before Tet (Lunar New Year), media reported that the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) had launched an investigation into whether MSeafood, a US division of Minh Phu Seafood, violated US trade laws by evading anti-dumping taxes on frozen warmwater shrimp from India.
A report on undercurrentnews.com on January 16 said the CBP had sent a letter to MSeafood Corporation, located in Fountain Valley, California, regarding the initiation of the investigation and interim measures.
On Thursday, MoIT said it has reported the case to the Prime Minister and also told the shrimp firm to clarify and provide all the information needed.
MoIT said, together with other relevant ministries and departments, it will talk with the US side about the issue.
MoIT said it will fight against commercial fraud, including origin fraud, however, it will do its best to protect local aquaculture firms if they are not involved in such activities.
Minh Phu said it was a pity that CBP applied the sanctions against the firm before letting it have a chance to provide Ad Hoc Shrimp Trade Enforcement Committee (AHSTE) with data and tell them directly the issues they accused the firm for.
Chairman of Minh Phu Le Van Quang said: "We will always cooperate with CBP even though their decision with us was so unfair and based on biased information”, in a letter sent to the State Securities Committee.
Quang said Minh Phu has assigned lawyers in Viet Nam and in the US to actively work with CBP to provide them with the correct data so that they can give the correct decision.
Minh Phu confirmed they had not imported frozen shrimp from India to export to the US.
Last year, Minh Phu Seafood’s total production was down 9.05 per cent on-year to 59,500 tonnes.
Total exports were 57,700 tonnes, worth US$643 million. The figures were down 14.69 per cent and 14.25 per cent on-year, respectively.
In the US market, the company recorded a 19.57 per cent annual drop in its exports, which retreated to $246 million.
Minh Phu Seafood shares (UPCoM: MPC) dropped another 0.9 per cent on Friday morning at VND21,500 ($0.97) per share. Its shares tumbled more than about 10 per cent after the investigation was reported.