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CITAC Shrimp Task Force

December 17, 2004


George Felcyn
The PBN Company


Wally Stevens, President of the American Association of Seafood Distributors and Chairman of the CITAC/ASDA Shrimp Task Force, issued the following statement today:

Boston, MA — A statement about the U.S. Commerce Departmentís practice of "zeroing" issued yesterday by the Southern Shrimp Alliance (SSA) relies on the same crooked math and fuzzy logic that characterize the groupís entire antidumping petition against imported shrimp from six countries.

The SSA is in the unenviable position of defending a methodology that twice has been ruled illegal by the World Trade Organization (WTO), recently abandoned by the U.S. Government in the Canada softwood lumber case, and previously abandoned as well by the EU when found illegal by the WTO.

Commerce Department antidumping investigations are supposed to determine whether, on average, an exporterís U.S. sales were made at prices lower than non-U.S. sales or below cost plus a profit. A true average must, of course, include all U.S. sales of the targeted product, not just an isolated set of lower-priced sales. Otherwise it is not an average, but simply a crooked calculation that assures antidumping margins. Unfortunately, by using zeroing, this is just how the Commerce Department calculates margins.

The SSAís statement asserts that "the current methodology to calculate dumping is logical and legal," and compares zeroing to speeding tickets. This is nonsense. Every business must react to market price movements. The U.S. agreed to dumping rules that recognize this reality by requiring that these taxes be calculated based on all sales; the more accurate analogy is to a grade point average that assesses performance overall.

Commerce uses zeroing for one purpose: to increase or create dumping margins that benefit petitioners at the expense of U.S. consumers and their world suppliers. Thatís why the WTO has repeatedly declared the practice illegal, and will again as a result of the WTO challenges that the targeted shrimp producing countries are sure to file if Commerce again breaks international rules in its December 20 final rulings. If Commerce still refuses to play by the rules, retaliation against U.S. exports will be sanctioned. All this harm to American interests just to line the pockets of the small domestic shrimp industry (with Byrd Amendment money, an illegal subsidy) that refuses to become competitive.

Itís no surprise that the twisted logic of U.S. antidumping laws looks like a good deal to petitioners, because the laws are so bent in their favor. In the end, the SSA and the rest of the petitioners, who together sped down the road of fuzzy logic and reckless legal interpretation in pursuit of unwarranted protection, will be ticketed by the WTO when the methodology underlying the shrimp duties is again ruled a violation of global trade rules.

For more information on the Shrimp Task Force, contact George Felcyn at or .