May 6, 2021
US House lawmakers have urged US President Joe Biden for aid on Vietnam pork tariffs
A bipartisan group of United States House lawmakers has urged the Biden administration to assist with the removal of Vietnam's imposed tariffs on US pork and other restrictions, Bloomberg reported.
According to a letter signed by 72 members of Congress, both Republicans and Democrats, to US Trade Representative Katherine Tai, US pork producers are unable to gain major access to Vietnam due to tariff and non-tariff barriers even through Vietnam's swine industry has been badly affected by African swine fever (ASF), pushing demand for imported pork.
The letter says the European Union and participants in the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership are better positioned to benefit as they have free-trade agreements with Vietnam.
The ASF outbreak in Vietnam has resulted in more than two million domestic and imported swine culled over the past two years. In 2020, Vietnam temporarily cut US frozen pork import tariffs from 15% to 10%, resulting in Vietnam importing double the usual amount of pork into the country in the second half of last year compared to first half of 2020. This temporary tariff reduction expired at the end of last year.
Nguyen Do Anh Tuan, spokesperson for Vietnam's agricultural ministry, said Vietnam is actively implementing steps within trade and investment agreements between Vietnam and the US to boost bilateral trade. Tuan said 475 companies in the US are permitted to export pork and meat products to Vietnam.
Maria Zieba, assistant vice president of international affairs for the National Pork Producers Council, said US pork producers are affected by administrative procedures, as Vietnam does not recognise the US pork plant inspection and approval system. There are also inconsistent processes for the import of some pork organ meat.