By  on May 7, 2008

WASHINGTON — The Commerce Department said Tuesday that it did not find enough evidence that Vietnam dumped apparel imports into the U.S. market at unfairly low prices to initiate an investigation.

The results came from a review of six months of apparel import data gathered as part of an antidumping monitoring program that began with Vietnam's entry into the World Trade Organization last year.

Dumping occurs when a foreign producer sells products into the U.S. market at prices below fair value, often defined as the price of the goods in the manufacturer's country or the cost of production.

Commerce looked at import data for five apparel categories: shirts, sweaters, trousers, underwear and swimwear.

"Commerce will continue our commitment to examine imports from Vietnam to ensure that apparel is not dumped into the U.S. market and threatening American manufacturers' competitiveness," said David Spooner, assistant secretary for import administration at the Commerce Department. "Our investigation reveals that prices of Vietnamese apparel are in line with, and, in most cases, even exceed, other major suppliers, including Central America."

This was the second review of import data from Vietnam under the monitoring program. The first review also found insufficient evidence. A third review will be conducted in September.

"We agreed with their conclusions," said Cass Johnson, president of National Council of Textile Organizations. "We looked at the numbers ourselves and compared what we found with what they found. It looks like Vietnam is not allowing dumped goods into the U.S. marketplace."

Johnson said there were a small number of lines that showed some irregularities, but they did not appear to constitute significant dumping. NCTO will continue to watch those, he said. NCTO was one of the organizations that pushed to establish a monitoring program.

"There was no basis for the Commerce Department to reach any other conclusion," said Laura Jones, executive director of the U.S. Association of Importers of Textiles and Apparel.

The results were "nothing extraordinary — we expected it," said Stephen Lamar, executive vice president of American Apparel & Footwear Association. The organization did not expect the Commerce Department to find evidence of dumping, he said.

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