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Thai Shrimp Farmers Take Fight for Survival to U.S. Embassy

Over 100 Thai shrimp farmers submitted an open letter to President Bush demanding fair trade
Thai Shrimp Farmers Take Fight for Survival to U.S. Embassy

May 20, 2011

Thai Shrimp Farmers Take Fight for Survival to U.S. Embassy

 

 

Over 100 shrimp farmers and hatchery operators, including the president of Suratthani Shrimp Association, Aekapoj Yodpinij, president of Krabi Shrimp Association, Pokkrong Kerdsook,  president of Andaman Shrimp Hatcheries Taweesub Chuaychan and president of Trang Shrimp Association, Aksorn Kajornkarnchanakul presented an open letter to President George W. Bush via the United States Ambassador at the U.S. Embassy in Bangkok today.

 

The shrimp farmers are seeking fair trade in the anti-dumping case, which they describe as double taxation. The U.S. Customs Border Protection Agency implements a Continuous Bond measure that the shrimp farmers say is illegal according to WTO rules and would cause the Thai shrimp industry to collapse.

 

Aekapoj Yodpinij, president of Suratthani Shrimp Association, said that the shrimp industry is facing great difficulties as a result of the anti-dumping duties levied on shrimp products from India, Vietnam, Ecuador, Brazil and China as well as Thailand.

 

“Besides the anti-dumping duties that must be paid on shrimp products, another vicious measure of Continuous Bond has been added,” Aekapoj Yodpinij said. “This requires a bond to be posted to cover 100 percent of the duty amount, based on the previous year’s total imports. This measure is unfair, discriminatory and double taxation, which is against WTO regulations”.

 

“It is clearly a trade barrier set by the U.S. customs on agricultural products such as frozen shrimp. The rate for other products is much lower, at about 10 per cent”.

 

Aekapoj Yodpinij went on to say that in theory importers are supposed to post bond but that in practice exporters are bearing the brunt of this heavy burden. “The Continuous Bond ties up cash flow of exporters – they do not have sufficient funds to post high bonds for long periods of time”, he explained. “Eventually it will affect shrimp exporters and processors causing shortages of capital to purchase shrimp. Shrimp prices will then be affected and the domino effect will strike the country’s shrimp industry and other related industries”.

 

“I wish to convey that in the recent past we have faced so many crises, such as the natural disaster of tsunami, falling shrimp prices and the anti-dumping order from the U.S. We ask the United States not to put more pressure on us with unfair trade measures.”

 

“”Shrimp farmers and the Thai people want nothing more than fair trade. It is our utmost wish that our great ally and nation would set a good example to other countries by not bullying small, helpless countries,” Mr. Aekapoj added.

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