Argentine Beekeepers' Magazine

AHPA and SHA against Argentine Honeys

April 23, 2021

Versión en Castellano

(Espacio Apícola, April 23rd 2021) On April 21, the AMERICAN HONEY PRODUCERS ASSOCIATION (AHPA) and the SIOUX HONEY ASSOCIATION (SHA) made a petition, before the Department of Commerce (DOC) and the International Trade Commission (ITA) of the United States, requesting antidumping sanctions against raw honey imported from Argentina, Brazil, India, Ukraine and Vietnam, as we had anticipated last March on this site.

American beekeepers represented in these two associations said that between 2018 and 2020 they have been harmed by the sale of imported honey at low price, lowering prices in the domestic market and losing sales opportunities.

For each country, they request different punitive tariffs. Against honey from Argentina between 16.83% to 22.60%, according to the documentation in our possession. Against the other countries, the punitive percentages would be: Brazil: 114.50%; India: from 34.22% to 99.16%; Ukraine: from 10.56% to 94.84% and Vietnam: 207.08%

As of yesterday (Thursday 22), the Department of Commerce has 20 days to analyze the documentation of several hundred pages, prepared with the sponsorship of KELLEY DRYE & WARREN LLP buffet, a firm with more than 120 lawyers, based on to the economic studies carried out by the consultants of GEORGETOWN ECONOMIC SERVICES, LLC, both with the same address and contact telephone number in Washington, DC. At the same time, the ITA has 45 days from this presentation to fix a Preliminary Determination regarding whether or not the local beekeeping industry has actually been damaged. If there is any negative point in any of these first stages of the DOC or ITC determination, the investigation is closed, according to the statutes of the United States anti-dumping sanctions investigations. The latter is not a minor fact since the five applications have been submitted independently and, if there is any objection to one of them, the others would follow their course.

The DOC has 20 days to review and decide if the petition meets all the requirements. During these 20 days, which can be extended, the petitioners can also submit comments. Once DOC decides that the petition meets the requirements, the investigation begins.

After 45 days of the petition the ITC would make its first preliminary determination on whether the industry is being harmed. We understand that the determination of the preliminary tariffs would not be issued before next June.

Once the anti-dumping (AD) investigation is initiated, the DOC has 140 days to issue a preliminary determination (of the investigation itself). This period can be extended. In principle the DOC investigation  concludes with a final determination 215 days (8 months) after its initiation, although these periods may be extended. Following the DOC's final determination, ITC has an additional 45 days to issue its own Final Determination, after which the DOC must issue the anti-dumping orders in 7 days.

Both preliminary determinations and the final determination stages, DOC and ITC must reach affirmative determinations. If at any stage, one makes a negative determination, the investigation is finished.

All the Argentine honey exporters were listed for possible sanction. However, some of them are only exporting bottled honey to the United States, so they would be excluded from investigation since the request is only for raw honeys (it is understood that it is honey in bulk) and expressly on volume 1 page 17 of from the first volume of the claim said: "Excluded from the scope is comb honey or honey that is packaged for retail sale (e.g., in bottles or other retail containers of five (5) lbs or less)".

This request would explain the greater demand of honey of the United States since the fourth quarter of last year, significantly increasing the exported volumes and prices at the beginning of this year, since the honey packers in the United States were aware of this situation and they had advised their suppliers from Argentina. Presumably, these packers have made enough stock to wait to see how the shares are headed in the next months to start over again with new contracts for the next scenario of September, which is presumed to be into effect a preliminary tax. Meanwhile, Argentine companies must strengthen their operations with other destinations, clearly adjusting to their requirements.

These two associations promoted antidumping actions against Argentine honey in 2000. A short time later, the invasion of green "recycled" drums in the United States, originating from honey apparently bought by the SHA, directly or by a broker from India, would have produced much rejection between other beekeepers associations in the northern country. At the end of this commercial relationship in approximately 2011, American honey packers would have purchased more than 70,000 (seventy thousand) tons of Chinese "honey" that would have entered the United States as a syrup, constituting the largest scam to United States customs. .. (Espacio Apícola 104, March 2013). In the present lawsuit, we have not found reference to that scandal neither the Wolf company scandal and others as the bankruptcy of the largest packers company in the USA  as causes of the alleged damage caused to the American beekeeping industry and of which all foreing genuine honey suppliers have been victims. Why was that syrup entered to be sold as honey in 2011 was not destroyed or returned to its origin? It was nationalized and everything would have been sold as honey in the United States. (It was published in "Los Angeles Times", November 8th of 2011; the American Bee Journal, February 2012 and so on)

Information generated by "Espacio Apícola" the Argentine Beekeepers' Magazine