Viet Nam’s ecology under threat from honey anti-dumping tax

HANOI, VIETNAM – Media OutReach – 6 April 2022 – According to the Viet Nam Beekeepers Association, the majority of beekeepers are currently in the Central Highlands and the Northern Midlands and Mountainous Area. The number of honeybee swarms in the Central Highlands accounts for a large proportion of the total 1.5 million honeybee swarms in Viet Nam per year, producing around 64,000 tons of honey, including 50,000 tons to export to the American market (80 per cent of total export volume).

The Central Highlands forest ecology is an important ecosystem. Some areas own relatively intact closed forest ecosystems, such as Kon Ha Nung Valley, which was acknowledge by UNESCO “Man and the Biosphere” (MAB) as the world biosphere reserve in 2021.

The UNESCO acknowledgement of the biosphere reserve in Viet Nam has given international accreditation to the value of biological diversification and effort in preserving nature and sustainable development in Viet Nam. Authorities in these areas and other villages in the buffer zone have worked together to protect forests.

Bee pollination can also contribute to the growth and diversifying development of botanical species, which helps improve air quality and increase the recoverability of planted trees. The health of bees and their swarms peak when being kept in gardens and biodiversity forests.

On November 17, 2021, the DOC (US Department of Commerce) issued a conclusion stating that the honey of Viet Nam dumped into America was being taxed from 410.93 to 413.99 per cent (Buon Me Thuot Honey JSC – 413.99%, Dak Lak Honey JSC – 410.93%) and is applying equivalent temporary tax.

On January 3, 2022, the DOC announced that they would apply retroactive tax for all honey consignments imported from Viet Nam from August 25, 2021. It is expected to have a final conclusion in April 2022.

The level of anti-dumping tax means that honeybee production in Viet Nam must stop producing for a period due to the loss of the main market. Aside from the direct economic damage, this also harms the forest ecosystem, tree-planting productivity, and livelihoods of low-income groups (who are mainly ethnic minorities in upland areas).

“The US Government has put a very high priority on environmental protection by launching important initiatives like the Agriculture Innovation Mission for Climate (AIM4C) and Lowering Emissions by Accelerating Forest Finance and Coalition of Action Sustainable Productivity Growth for Food Security and Resource Conservation (SPG). Viet Nam has actively participated in those initiatives to join the US and global efforts in mitigating climate change impact and environmental protection. Honey bees are vital to keeping the forest healthy. The decision by the DOC may destroy billions of bees, and the rainforests of Viet Nam would be greatly affected. The US Government should consider its social and environmental responsibilities globally in this case,” said Nguyen Do Anh Tuan, Director General of International Cooperation Department, Viet Nam’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.