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Issue #586 | Latin America Trade | Canada Ports

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2014 Media Kit
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American Consumers pay more for shrimp

By: | at 07:00 PM | Channel(s): International Trade  

The CITAC/ASDA Shrimp Task Force said that final duty margins on imported shrimp from China and Vietnam announced by the Department of Commerce (DOC) will result in US consumers paying higher prices for America’s #1 seafood, and will do nothing to help the domestic shrimp industry. The Shrimp Task Force urged the International Trade Commission (ITC) to vote against the imposition of duties that could harm both consumers and thousands of American workers whose jobs depend on access to affordable shrimp imports.

The DOC announced final margins on imports of shrimp for mandatory respondents from China ranging from zero to 84.93%, and for mandatory respondents from Vietnam from 4.13 to 25.76%. The “Section A” rate—the rate applicable to companies that were not specifically investigated but that proved their independence from the government—increased from 49.09% to 55.23% for companies in China, and decreased from 16.1% to 4.38% for companies in Vietnam. The countrywide rate remained the same for China 112.81%, and decreased from 93.13% to 25.76% for Vietnam.

The revised rates become effective on the day of publication in the Federal Register, or in approximately one week. They will remain in effect if the ITC makes an affirmative injury determination in January, but will be removed if ITC makes a negative determination. The DOC will announce final dumping duties for the four “market economy” countries named in the anti- dumping petition—Thailand, India, Ecuador, and Brazil—by December 17.

“Thousands of family-owed restaurants and businesses will now be forced to pay these duties—a new federal tax—that, thanks to the Byrd Amendment, will go right into the pockets of the petitioners,” said Wally Stevens, Chairman of the Shrimp Task Force. “The way that US trade law is being applied in the shrimp case sends the message that the US Government will protect companies that simply want protection from competition over American consumers and companies who can compete—and are thriving—in the global marketplace.”

Thanks to reasonably priced, high-quality shrimp that is efficiently produced overseas, shrimp has risen to become America’s #1 seafood. Last year, Americans consumed a record four pounds of shrimp per person, up from 3.7 pounds in 2002. Imports account for roughly ninety percent of total U.S. shrimp consumption.

“The fact is that the DOC’s methodology for ‘non-market’ economies almost always creates dumping margins in these investigations,” said Wally Stevens, Chairman of the Shrimp Task Force. “Their methodology is biased in favor of protectionist interests from the start. Through its use of ‘surrogate values,’ DOC investigators substitute actual sales or production costs of shrimp producers in China and Vietnam with estimated prices cherry-picked from other countries. Further, by using its unfair ‘zeroing’ methodology, in which negative dumping margins are effectively ignored, DOC creates dumping margins that would otherwise not exist. Zeroing was even ruled illegal by the WTO.”

“The Shrimp Task Force will continue to fight this unfair and ill-advised food tax, which will hit American families and American businesses that count on access to high-quality, imported shrimp right in their pocketbooks,” Stevens concluded. “The US businesses that rely on access to imported shrimp—restaurants, grocery stores, distributors, trucking companies, cold storage and logistics companies, and importers—together employ tens of thousands of US workers, twenty times those employed in the domestic shrimp industry.”

Copies of the DOC fact sheet on the final decision will be available at http://www.ita.doc.gov/media, or by calling the Office of Public Affairs at 202-482-3809.

In response to the threat that these food taxes 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, dist