By: Chris Hiatt, AHPA
On May 9, 2022, the United States International Trade Commission (USITC) voted unanimously that U.S. beekeepers producing raw honey were being materially injured by dumped imports of raw honey from Argentina, Brazil, India and Vietnam. This was the last step necessary in the trade case that was filed in April 2021 by the American Honey Producers Association (AHPA) and the Sioux Honey Association (SHA) to have an antidumping duty order imposed. The USITC found that imports were significant and undercut domestic prices, leading to poor and declining financial performance of the domestic industry. The USITC also found that critical circumstances applied to dumped imports of raw honey from Vietnam, which will result in antidumping duties being applied retroactively to dumped imports of honey from Vietnam going back to August 25, 2021.
I would like to thank the team at Kelley Drye for their work in helping us get this big win. Besides myself, Matt Halbgewachs from Exec. Board of AHPA, Ron Spears AHPA/Sue member, Alex Blumenthal, CEO of Sue and Craig Rodenberg of Sue all took time off to prep and then testify in the hearing. All did a great job.
When this antidumping duty investigation was initiated, importers and packers claimed that the imports were not being dumped and that the domestic industry was not being injured. The U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) found that every exporter of honey in the subject countries was dumping honey in the United States. The unanimous affirmative injury decision by the USITC indicates the overwhelming evidence that unfairly traded imports, and no other factors, caused injury to the domestic industry.
The antidumping duty orders cover approximately 82 percent of imports of raw honey in 2021. As a result of the successful trade case, the prices of imported honey have risen significantly over the last year, which has allowed domestic prices to rise over the last year as well, as demonstrated by published prices. For the last several years, domestic honey producers as a whole have been unable to turn a profit on their honey producing operations. The increase in prices that the case has achieved should allow the domestic industry to begin recovering. Importers and packers now know that we are watching imports and will act to protect our businesses and way of life.
Now that the industry has some protection from unfairly traded imports, we will have to be vigilant to protect and maximize that relief. Our trade attorneys tell us that the DOC made some significant errors in the dumping margin calculations for India and Vietnam and that they should be higher. They are recommending that we appeal those decisions to ensure that we get the maximum relief from the orders. It is unclear whether any of the foreign producers or importers will appeal the dumping margins calculated for them. They have several more weeks in which to file any such appeals. If those foreign producers and importers do file appeals, it will be important that we intervene and participate to protect our hard-won relief.
It is also possible that importers and foreign producers will challenge the affirmative injury determination, and more likely that importers will challenge the critical circumstances determination which is costing them many millions of dollars in additional antidumping duty deposits. Once the time for appeals has run, our attorneys will provide us with options for participation in the proceedings to protect our relief from unfair trade.
This all costs money. The appeals process can take up to a year and we need more money to pay for it. If you have not donated yet to AHPA to help pay for this Win, please do so.
This case has been an important victory for the domestic industry and should provide the basis for recovery, just as the first dumping suit vs. China in 2001 brought relief for the industry. There will still be work to do to ensure we get the most out of the orders. We can be proud of what we have already achieved, however, and we will keep the industry informed of any ongoing efforts.