The U.S. Department of Commerce today used a sampling methodology to select the exporters whose sales will be reviewed in the ninth administrative review of the antidumping duty order on shrimp from the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. Commerce has in all eight preceding reviews of this order selected respondents having the largest export volumes. While the statute allows for the use of either approach, Commerce has to date selected respondents by export volume in all but a handful of instances. Today’s selection implements an initiative by Commerce to employ sampling as a means of improving enforcement of trade remedy laws.
Sampling improves the antidumping duty laws by making all exporters subject to review, rather than just the largest. When Commerce selects by export volume, there is little incentive for companies to price fairly in the U.S. market if they know they will never be reviewed – companies which account for the majority of Vietnamese shrimp exports. Sampling also enhances fairness by giving all exporters the opportunity to be reviewed. The Ad Hoc Shrimp Trade Action Committee (AHSTAC), an association of domestic shrimp producers represented by PKR, has repeatedly urged Commerce to select respondents through a sampling methodology its administrative reviews.
Commerce in December 2010 solicited input on its proposal to employ sampling as the default respondent selection methodology. Comments in support were filed by the Southern Shrimp Alliance, PKR on behalf of the domestic softwood lumber industry, the Committee to Support U.S. Trade Laws, and the following law firms representing various domestic industries: Skadden, Arps; King & Spalding; Wiley Rein; and Stewart and Stewart. While Commerce finalized its sampling policy in November 2013, today marks the first actual implementation of its new administrative approach.AHSTAC requested that Commerce employ sampling at the outset of the instant review. Commerce today selected the following three companies according to groupings by export size: the Minh Phu Group from the stratum for largest exporters; Sao Ta Foods Joint Stock Company from the stratum for the medium-sized exporters; and Thuan Phuoc Seafoods and Trading Corporation from the stratum for the smallest exporters. While Minh Phu was selected for the eighth consecutive review, neither Sao Ta Foods nor Thuan Phuoc Seafoods has been reviewed before. Commerce will now solicit information from these three exporters to determine whether, and to what extent, they have made sales at less than fair value in the U.S. market.