GAA President George Chamberlain and representatives of the United States seafood industry opposed antidumping trade action against imported shrimp during a January 21 U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) hearing in Washington, D.C., USA.
In antidumping petitions filed December 31, 2003, the Ad Hoc Shrimp Trade Action Committee (a.k.a. Southern Shrimp Alliance) asked ITC to investigate whether shrimp from Brazil, China, Ecuador, India, Thailand, and Vietnam were being "dumped" at unfairly low prices in the U.S. The committee's case proposed tariffs of 30-267% on shrimp imports from the named countries.
In the longest presentation of the January 21 public hearing in Washington, D.C., USA, Chamberlain said the costs of farm-raised shrimp production are declining and becoming more competitive than those for wild-caught shrimp. He also explained that market factors such as availability, quality, and freshness contribute further to making farmed shrimp an attractive product for both processors and retailers.
(Full text available at http://www.gaalliance.org/acti.html.)
Several U.S. shrimp fishermen and processors joined a distributor and canner to testify first. They said businesses like theirs find it difficult to run profitably because so much imported shrimp flows into the U.S. at low prices.
Thirteen witnesses testified against antidumping action on behalf of importers and foreign producers of frozen and canned shrimp. Although acknowledging the plight of the U.S. shrimp industry, the U.S. buyers said they could only buy more domestic wild-caught shrimp if quality issues were addressed.
ITC commissioners will vote February 17 to determine whether the domestic industry has been materially injured or is threatened with injury by the shrimp imports. If the commission finds injury or threat of injury, the U.S. Commerce Department will then proceed with an investigation of foreign shrimp producers to determine whether dumping has occurred.