CITAC Shrimp Task Force

June 25, 2004


George Felcyn
The PBN Company

Shrimp Task Force Challenges U.S. Shrimp Group: Proposed Food
Tax and Higher Prices on Shrimp Will Harm American Consumers,
Says ASDA/CITAC Shrimp Task Force

Washington, DC — The CITAC/ASDA Shrimp Task Force today challenged the Southern Shrimp Alliance to support its claims that the food taxes averaging as much as 117% it is seeking to impose on over 60% of the shrimp consumed in the United States will not cause shrimp prices to go up or cause fewer Americans to buy or eat shrimp. This challenge comes two days after the Shrimp Task Force released a study that found that antidumping food taxes imposed on shrimp imports would cause prices for all shrimp sold in the U.S. to soar by 44%, and that such a price hike could lead to a one-third drop in all shrimp consumption.

"SSA can't have it both ways," said Wally Stevens, ASDA President and Chairman of the Shrimp Task Force. "In its petition to the U.S. International Trade Commission requesting food taxes on shrimp imports ranging up to 349%, the SSA claims that shrimp prices are too low; now, in response to the Shrimp Task Force studies, the SSA claims shrimp prices are too high. What the SSA can't explain is why Americans at all income levels are buying record amounts of shrimp every year."

Studies released by the Shrimp Task Force showed that the availability of shrimp at the nation's most popular restaurants has skyrocketed, with the number of shrimp offerings on menus at the nation's 200 largest restaurant chains increasing 47% from 1999 to 2003. Purchases of shrimp at grocery stores and other retail outlets doubled between 1995 and 2002. Shrimp consumption by Americans at all income levels has grown, with low income families showing the highest increase (45 percent) of any income level.

"Shrimp has become America's #1 seafood because imports of high-quality, affordable shrimp have allowed more American restaurants — from family-owned restaurants to the most popular chains — to sell a wider variety of shrimp dishes, and American grocery stores to sell millions of pounds of shrimp. Without these imports, shrimp would still be an expensive luxury food that only the rich can afford," said Stevens.

"As its latest response to our studies shows, the SSA clearly prefers taxation of consumers over competition. They would rather complain about imports than adjust to the reality that modern technology in the form of shrimp aquaculture has changed the shrimp industry for good," said Stevens.

According to Stevens, "The U.S. government must make some critical decisions in this case:
1) It can penalize millions of American families by placing a tax on shrimp that rewards a small group of shrimp processors; 2) It can send a message to these processors that the millions of dollars appropriated by Congress to help to restructure the industry should be spent for that purpose and not diverted, as is proposed in Louisiana, to support this baseless trade case;
3) It needs to recognize that the 250,000 jobs in the shrimp consuming sector — which are twenty times greater than those in the producing sector — are also extremely important, not just to those individuals who hold these jobs, but to the overall American economy."

Stevens concluded: "While SSA prefers to use empty rhetoric and misleading excerpts from old newspaper articles to back its claims, The Shrimp Task Force will continue to use statistical data and sound economic analysis to show that SSA's proposed food tax on shrimp is unjustified, ill-advised, and harmful to the businesses that employ 250,000 workers in "the other domestic industry" as well as to millions of American consumers."

Click here to download the Shrimp Task Force studies or for more information on this issue, contact George Felcyn at or .


© 2004 CITAC Shrimp Task Force