Thai Shrimp Farmers Urge Government to Pursue WTO Case Against US
Thai government urgent to stand up for shrimp farmers
A group of over 30 Thai shrimp farmers from various associations, led by Mr Aekpoj Yodpinij, president of the Surat Thani Shrimp Association, submitted an open letter to Deputy Prime Minister, Mr Somkid Jatusripitak and Minister of Commerce on February 23, 2006.
The letter asks the Government to file suit against the US for its violation of the WTO rules on double taxation on shrimp anti-dumping which is unfair, discriminatory and a trade barrier. Moreover, the Byrd Amendment, which gives benefits to US petitioners, also breaks the WTO rules.
"We are here today to support the Thai Government to stand up and fight the injustice of the US, leveled on weaker countries such as Thailand. The US has issued AD [anti-dumping] orders on Thai shrimp, along with five other producing countries – India, Vietnam, Ecuador, Brazil and China since November 8, 2005.
"In addition to the cash deposit of 5.59% for each Thai shrimp import, the Customs Border Protection Agency has implemented another vicious measure called continuous bond which is a long-term collateral collected for guarantee of future anti-dumping duties.
"This continuous bond poses a big problem. Most importantly, the continuous bond is double taxation and this is against the WTO rules.
"Secondly, it is deemed to be a trade barrier, unfair and discriminatory as it is applicable to shrimp products which are subject to 100% bond value. Other products are subject to only a 10% bond.
"Thirdly, the Byrd Amendment which induces US domestic industries to petition against foreign competitors is illegal being against the WTO international trade rules and is actually a US trade subsidy.
"Fourthly, the US had brought up the case of continuous bonds during the recent Thai-US FTA talks in Chiangmai – that it would be abolished within 60 days and had requested Thailand to withold the lawsuit.
"This simply was a ploy of the US to use continuous bonds as a bargaining tool for Thailand to open up the finance and banking sectors. This clearly demonstrates the selfishness and insincerity of the US." Mr Aekpoj said.
"Its time that the Thai Government under the leadership of Prime Minister, Dr. Taksin Shinawatra to stand up and fight this injustice to the end by suing the US with the WTO for breaking international trade laws. Shrimp farmers of Thailand will give full support. We want fair trade, not unfair trade," Mr Aekpoj added.
US shrimp imports from Thailand for the period November and December 2005 totaled 32,741 tonnes or 9.2% lower than the same period for the previous year. White shrimp price on February 23, 2006 for 50, 60, 70, and 80 pieces per kilogram are Bht. 160, 140, 130, and 120 respectively.