Argentine Beekeepers' Magazine



February 15th, 2022

Versión en Castellano

(Espacio Apícola, February 15th, 2022) There is still a long way to May 23rd, if there are no further postponements, to know the decision of the United States International Trade Commission (US-ITC) on antidumping sanctions against honey from Argentina, Brazil, India, Ukraine and Vietnam. Perhaps in this image from wikipedia, market operators can find the answer they are looking for...

Unlike the previous investigation promoted against honey from Argentina and China in 2000, now there are five countries involved. The United States Department of Commerce (DOC) has used different criteria and methodologies to address each case. Seeking reasonableness and fairness for each of the five simultaneous scenarios and since the positive Preliminary Determination against each company of each country involved, the DOC may have given rise to new inequities. This is what some lawyers seem to argue.

Some Argentine beekeepers, suppliers of the Association of Argentine Cooperatives (Asociación de Cooperativas Argentinas, ACA), refused to answer the Cost of Production questionnaires because they did not have the required level of records and considered themselves unable to do so. For their side, Brazilian beekeepers responded to each question on the form as "not applicable", for which the DOC considered these responses useless. Being the result of both answers totally useless for a Cost of Production determination, the DOC severely sanctioned the Argentine company (ACA) and accepted the Acquisition Price of the Brazilian company (MELBRAS) instead of the cost of production...

Another, more radicalized company, the Ukrainian SODRUJESTVO, directly responded that no beekeeper or middlemen had been initially sued and that, therefore, they were not the subject of this investigation. Therefore, they consider illegal the intention of the DOC to audit suppliers that are not associated or dependent on the company.

On the other hand, while the comparison with other fully verifiable markets would be in the background in the Argentine case, for Vietnamese companies substitute data is used due to lack of reliable information and the same companies Ban Me Thout and DakHoney ask that the DOC must take Indian honey prices and costs  as reference value, in rupees. Sure, the Preliminary Determination against Indian honey was very benevolent... For its part, the American Honey Producers Assn. and the Sioux Honey Assn., the petitioners, cast doubt on all the information provided by each of the defenses to ask the DOC to confirm some sanctions and severely rectify others, particularly those that have been most critical of the methodologies applied by the DOC.

As a result of retroactive and confiscatory payments imposed on imported honey, particularly from VIETNAM with more than 400%, some 30 companies from the American Honey Packers and Dealers Assn. (AHPDA) and other companies from the US and abroad became fully involved in the investigation, since the tariffs imposed surely put their financial and operational capacity at risk, slowing down and further conditioning market operations whose forecast is as variable as the vision of the kaleidoscope that illustrate this note.

Impact on Argentine producers. Even though the international price of honey has increased and would compensate above the incidence of the increase in freight rates, the price of honey for producers has already fallen by more than 15% since the anti-dumping investigation began in the United States.

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