HO CHI MIN CITY, Vietnam (July 14) - Three of the nine bicycle companies under investigation are Vietnamese-owned but the department said they have never exported to the EU. The rest are wholly foreign-invested. "We are so surprised to know we are involved in the petition," deputy head of the Thong Nhat Bicycle Company, Trinh Nguyet Minh, said.
Trade officials speculated that the confusion could have arisen because of fake trademarks or certificates of origin (CO).
Tran Huu Huynh, head of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry's legal department, which is authorised to grant COs to Vietnamese exports, said the chamber has not certified any of the three Vietnamese bicycle makers.
Vietnamese bicycle makers said the petition has not hurt them so far though its impact would be huge in the long-term.
The EC has asked the nine bicycle companies to provide information based on which it would decide whether to conduct field investigations, the competition department said.
The six foreign firms have replied to the EC while the Vietnamese companies have explained that they do not export to Europe. The trade ministry has asked the foreign companies to join the Vietnam Bicycle and Motorbike Association (VBMA) enabling the latter to represent all the investigated companies.
VBMA's deputy head, Le Anh Tuan, denied Vietnamese bicycles were being dumped in the EU pointing out while a bicycle was sold at US$ 30 - 50 domestically, it was exported at $ 80 - 100. However, the firms needed to work closely with each other to cope with the petition, Tuan warned.
The competition department said the six foreign companies have hired foreign lawyers to represent them. If the dumping charges stick, bicycle exports from Vietnam to the EU could be slapped with duties of up to 46.24%, the department said.(MH)