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The U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) will investigate whether it ought to impose antidumping duties and countervailing duties on imported shrimp from several countries.
Specifically, the DOC will conduct antidumping duty investigations of frozen warmwater shrimp from Ecuador and Indonesia and countervailing duty investigations of frozen warmwater shrimp from Ecuador, India, Indonesia, and Vietnam.
The investigations were launched in response to trade petitions filed by the American Shrimp Processors Association (ASPA) in October. The industry group claims that the “U.S. shrimp market has been overwhelmed by massive quantities of underpriced shrimp imports, resulting in unsustainably low dockside prices, falling domestic market share, significantly lower profit margins, and historically high inventory levels.” ASPA claims that shrimp farmers and processors in Ecuador and India receive subsidized loans, tax concessions, grants, export credits, and other government support that gives them an advantage over U.S. producers.
“These petitions are necessary due to continued unfair trade practices causing significant market distortions and price depression in the United States,” ASPA trade counsel Elizabeth Drake and Eddy Hayes said in a statement. “If successful, antidumping and countervailing duty orders will result in tariffs that offset the dumping and subsidies undertaken by foreign companies and foreign governments. This should bring a measure of market correction and badly needed relief to the entire domestic shrimp industry.”
ASPA estimated dumping margins as high as 111 percent for Ecuador and 37 percent for Indonesia.
In mid-November, the International Trade Commission (ITC) held a preliminary conference to evaluate whether imports could be materially harming the domestic shrimp industry.
“We have lost more sales in the past 18 months than I recall in our company’s history,” Mississippi-based C.F. Gollott and Son Seafood President Arny Gollott III told the commission. “We regularly see finished import quotes at prices below our cost of production, and we lost an entire restaurant chain customer last year to imported shrimp solely based on price.”
The ITC is expected to decide on whether to investigate 8 December.
“Despite the enormous challenges this industry is facing, we believe that we can compete with anyone under fair market conditions,” ASPA President Trey Pearson said.
In June 2023, the ITC voted to maintain antidumping duties on shrimp from India, China, Thailand, and Vietnam in its latest five-year review.
Domestic producers have also put increased pressure on the federal government to combat cheap shrimp imports by declaring disasters at the local and state level.
Photo courtesy of Shutterstock / Terry Kelly
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