American Consumers Big Losers in ITC Final Injury Vote on Imported Shrimp Duties

ITC Changed Circumstance Review Could Lead to Revocation of Duties Against Tsunami-stricken India and Thailand
January 8, 2005

The Consuming Industries Trade Action Coalition/American Seafood Distributors Association (CITAC/ASDA) Shrimp Task Force criticized yesterday's decision by the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) that shrimp imports have caused material injury to the domestic shrimp industry, calling the decision "an unwarranted tax on America's #1 seafood."

ITC Commissioners made an affirmative determination by a vote of 6-0 in its final phase anti-dumping investigation concerning frozen shrimp from China, Vietnam, Brazil, Ecuador, India and Thailand, that imports had caused injury to the domestic industry during the period investigated.  However, the ITC self-initiated a "changed circumstances" review for India and Thailand to investigate the impact of the Tsunami tragedy on the shrimp industries in both countries.  The ITC review could lead to the revocation of the duties against both countries.

The Department of Commerce (DOC) margins on imports of shrimp will remain in place: mandatory respondents from China ranging from zero to 112.81 percent, mandatory respondents from Vietnam ranging from 4.13 to 25.76 percent, mandatory respondents from Brazil ranging from 9.69 to 67.8 percent, mandatory respondents from Ecuador from 2.35 to 4.48 percent, mandatory respondents from India from 5.02 to 13.42 percent, and for mandatory respondents from Thailand from 5.79 to 6.82 percent.

"First, our hearts go out to the victims of the Tsunami tragedy and we hope that the ITC revokes the tariffs against India and Thailand as soon as possible.

"The ITC's decision helps no one, but instead causes havoc in the market, may raise prices for consumers and hurts thousands of Americans who work in the shrimp consuming sector," said Wally Stevens, Chairman of the Consuming Industries Trade Action Coalition/American Seafood Distributors Association (CITAC/ASDA) Shrimp Task Force and ASDA President.  "Ninety percent of all shrimp consumed in the U.S. is imported.  Families across this country have been able to enjoy shrimp dinners in their homes and at restaurants at record levels.  These duties will do nothing to make the domestic shrimpers more competitive."

Stevens continued, "The shrimpers' petition claimed that the drop in shrimp prices over the past three years was caused by these six countries 'dumping' shrimp.  Despite the Department of Commerce using a methodology already declared illegal by the World Trade Organization (zeroing), and its use of unfair surrogate values to compare prices, the final duties, excluding China average less than 8%, with the likely weighted average of 2005 imports to be about 5%.

"How does a 5% 'dumping' margin for shrimp imports logically translate to being the cause of the significant decrease in shrimp prices over the past three years?" asked Stevens.  "However, after observing for more than a year the process by which anti-dumping investigations are conducted, nothing should surprise me.  The way that the dumping law is being applied in the shrimp case is simply wrong, counter-productive and anti-consumer.

"The seafood importing and distribution community has long attempted to reach out to domestic shrimpers to find ways to assist them in restructuring to become more competitive," said Stevens.  "As recently as two weeks ago, importers sought to establish a dialogue on ways the seafood importing community could help the domestic shrimp industry restructure and have long advised them that seeking protection from the government and hoping for Byrd Amendment money in the distant future are not the answers to the industry's future viability.  It is sad and unfortunate that the shrimpers chose protectionism over sorely needed restructuring."

Stevens concluded, "One of them most disappointing aspects of the outcome of today's decision is that the petitioners will collect millions through the Byrd Amendment.  This law, formally know as the Continued Dumping and Subsidy Offset Act, funnels revenues collected from import duties into the pockets of the companies that supported petitions to the U.S. Government for trade protection, rather than to the U.S. Treasury, where other tariffs are sent. There is no requirement that these companies use this corporate welfare for restructuring.  The Byrd Amendment has been declared illegal by the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the WTO has authorized trade retaliation by other countries against the U.S. until the law is repealed."

Copies of the ITC press release on the final vote will be available at

In response to the threat import duties pose to consumers and the consuming industries that serve them, the Consuming Industries Trade Action Coalition (CITAC) and the American Seafood Distributors Association (ASDA) formed the CITAC/ASDA Shrimp Task Force, joining concerned grocers, restaurants, processors, distributors, business councils, and U.S. importers. The Shrimp Task Force seeks to assure that the U.S. government considers all the facts, applies the law, and exercises its discretion in the case fairly and objectively, with a full understanding of the national ramifications of any decision.

For more information on the Shrimp Task Force, visit the Shrimp Task Force website at