Commerce capitulates on labor rate in review of shrimp from Vietnam

News & Insights
Nov 26, 2013
The Department of Commerce yesterday filed its remand results with the Court of International Trade in longstanding litigation over the labor rate to calculate duties on in the fifth administrative review of the antidumping duty order on shrimp from Vietnam. PKR brought the case on behalf of the Ad Hoc Shrimp Trade Action Committee (AHSTAC), an association of domestic producers of frozen warmwater shrimp, challenging the $0.21 hourly wage rate derived exclusively from Bangladeshi data. Commerce had for decades used data from multiple market economy countries to value labor in nonmarket economies such as Vietnam, but abruptly changed course late in the review.

CIT Chief Judge Pogue ordered remand in November 2012 and July 2013, finding the $0.21 Bangladeshi wage rate unreasonable and unsupported by substantial evidence. In yesterday’s remand results, Commerce changes course and values labor using a $0.93 hourly rate obtained by

averaging data from Bangladesh, Guyana, India, Indonesia, Nicaragua, and the Philippines. In result, the assigned antidumping duty margins increased significantly: to 1.20% from 0.80% and to 1.36% from 1.15% for the two Vietnamese exporters examined; and to 1.28% from 1.03% for exporters separate from the Vietnamese government not reviewed by Commerce.

The CIT will decide whether to affirm the remand results after considering comments due next month. If the CIT affirms, Commerce may appeal to the Federal Circuit – the remand is expressly “under respectful protest.” In the meantime, the remand results represent a hard-fought achievement by AHSTAC on behalf of the domestic shrimp industry. Commerce should not be sanctioning the meager wages paid to shrimpers in destitute countries.