November 16, 2020
U.S. Agricultural Sector Wary of Fallout From Vietnam Investigation
Dairy and poultry producers are worried that the U.S. government’s investigation into Vietnam’s currency practices and alleged use of illegally-harvested lumber could hurt U.S. farm sales to a fast-growing export market.
“In 2019, total [poultry] sales to Vietnam had reached more than $140 million annually,” the USA Poultry and Egg Export Council said in comments to USTR. “For 2020, U.S. exports are on pace to maintain those same high levels despite the difficulties of trade during the worldwide pandemic.”
The trade group said it has seen no evidence that Vietnam’s allegedly undervalued đồng has negatively affected exports to the Southeast Asian nation, but they did express concern about losing sales if the U.S. applies tariffs on Vietnamese goods.
“In our view, the current 301 investigation is structured in a way that will invite trade retaliation on U.S. exports, and U.S. poultry will be a likely candidate for that retaliation,” the group said.
The National Milk Producers Federation sounded similarly concerned in comments they filed along with the U.S. Dairy Export Council, asking USTR to “refrain from taking steps through this investigation that could damage the progress we have achieved with Vietnam.”
“Given the very significant barriers U.S. exporters continue to face in other markets, we believe that U.S. efforts can most constructively be directed at these barriers, rather than in a market in which progress has been occurring and in which we expect progress to continue,” the dairy groups wrote.