FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 4, 2004
The PBN Company
SHRIMP IMPORT TAX COULD LEAD TO LOST BUSINESS AND
LOSS OF U.S. SOYBEAN EXPORTS,
AMERICAN SOYBEAN ASSOCIATION WARNS
Washington , DC — The American Soybean Association (ASA) has warned Secretary of Commerce Donald Evans that the outcome of the shrimp antidumping petition against six countries could "have a direct and serious impact" on the American soybean industry, and also warned that duties could lead to lost business by U.S. soybean farmers and the loss of exports of American soybean products to Thailand, a major market, and other affected countries such as China.
In a letter to Secretary Evans dated October 29, the ASA responded to the continuing challenge from nine private agricultural trade associations in Thailand, representing virtually all Thai business consumers of U.S. soybean exports, that have mutually agreed to ban imports of soybeans and soybean meal from the U.S. if the Department of Commerce (DOC) imposes antidumping duties on Thai shrimp.
"We urge you not to impose any further duties on imports of shrimp from Thailand in the final duty determinations," wrote Neal Bredehoeft, President of the ASA. "We are concerned that the imposition of duties would trigger problems for soybean exports to Thailand."
ASA also raised a broader concern that the duties would lower demand for soybean exports.
"Large quantities of soybean meal are used as feed for farm-raised shrimp in these countries, and a great deal of that is produced from soybeans exported from the United States," Bredehoeft continued. "U.S. restrictions on frozen shrimp, a primary export from a number of countries involved, have the very high potential to alienate the very customers that are so valuable to U.S. soybean exporters."
China, one of the six countries targeted by domestic shrimpers, imported 8.29 million metric tons of soybeans from the U.S. last year, an increase of 99% over the previous year, with a value totaling $2.2 billion. "If dumping duties result in lower shrimp production in China, U.S. soybean producers would lose some of those sales as overall demand for soybeans and soybean meal declines," wrote Bredehoeft.
Thanks largely to high-quality, reasonably priced imports, shrimp has become America's #1 seafood, with Americans consuming a record 4.0 pounds of shrimp per person in 2003, up from 3.7 pounds in 2002. Domestic, ocean-caught shrimp account for only about one-tenth of U.S. shrimp consumption. U.S. shrimp fishermen face high costs, weather problems, and other disadvantages and have failed to meet the challenges of global competition.
Earlier this year, the DOC made preliminary determinations on dumping duties for these six countries. The pending preliminary duties for Thailand range from 5.56 percent to 10.25 percent; for China, from 0.04 percent to 112.81 percent; for Vietnam from 12.11 percent to 93.13 percent; for Brazil from 12.86 percent to 67.8 percent; for Ecuador from 6.08 percent to 9.35 percent; and for India from 3.56 percent to 27.49 percent. The DOC will announce final dumping duties for China and Vietnam by November 29, 2004, and for Thailand, India, Ecuador, and Brazil by December 17.
During January 2005, the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) will determine whether the imports from the six countries are a true cause of material injury to the domestic industry.
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, distributors, business councils, and U.S. importers. The Shrimp Task Force seeks to assure that the U.S. government considers all the facts, applies the law, and exercises its discretion in the case fairly and objectively, with a full understanding of the national ramifications of any decision.
For more information on the Shrimp Task Force, contact George Felcyn at or