FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 19, 2004
The PBN Company
COMMERCE DEPARTMENT POSTPONES PRELIMINARY
DETERMINATION OF DUTIES IN SHRIMP TRADE CASE
Washington, DC The CITAC/ASDA Shrimp Task Force today applauded the Department of Commerces (DOC) decision to postpone its preliminary determinations into allegations of dumping involving imported shrimp from six countries. The $2.4 billion anti-dumping case was brought by domestic U.S. shrimpers who claim that imported shrimp from six countries Brazil, Ecuador, Vietnam, Thailand, China and India is being illegally dumped on the U.S. market.
As a result of the extension, The Commerce Department has moved the date that it will announce its preliminary determination as to whether or not there has been dumping and, if so, the margin of dumping, from June 8, 2004 to July 2, 2004 for the two non-market economies, Vietnam and China; and from June 8, 2004 to July 28, 2004 for Brazil, Ecuador, India and Thailand.
“While we are pleased with the Commerce Department’s announcement, we would have preferred that preliminary determinations for all six countries be postponed until the latest possible date — July 28,” said CITAC/ASDA Shrimp Task Force Chairman Wally Stevens. “Each of these investigations, including those of Vietnam and China, is equally complex and requires as much time as legally permitted to ensure a fair result.”
Several Members of Congress recently sent a letter to Commerce Secretary Donald Evans, asking that the Department use “fair and reasonable procedures” in its investigation. Whether shrimp imports are subject to high antidumping duties is determined in large part by how the Commerce Department compares prices for shrimp exported to the U.S. with prices for shrimp exported to other countries, a difficult and highly subjective process subject to a great deal of discretion on the part of government officials.
Members of Congress and U.S. shrimp consumers have raised concerns about the Commerce Department omitting established practices that compare prices of actual products sold in different markets in favor of adopting a formula developed by the petitioners in the trade case that is based on artificially constructed prices for hypothetical products that were never sold in those markets.
Thanks largely to a steadily increasing supply of low-cost imports, shrimp has risen to become the nation’s #1 seafood product. Nearly 90% of all shrimp consumed in the U.S. is now imported, much of it from countries utilizing modern aquaculture techniques that enable exporters to efficiently farm and export their product year-round at low prices. The six countries targeted by the petitioners are responsible for approximately 75% of shrimp imports
into the U.S.
As we’ve said before, we’re confident that if government officials analyze this case fairly and objectively, they will find that no dumping has taken place, said Stevens. We expect that the Commerce Department will use these extensions to arrive at a decision based upon the facts and will do nothing to harm American consumers who have come to expect access to high-quality and affordable shrimp.
Due to the threat that duties pose to both consumers and to the consuming industries that serve them, the Consuming Industries Trade Action Coalition (CITAC) has formed an alliance with the American Seafood Distributors Associations (ASDA), bringing together concerned grocers, restaurants, processors, distributors, business councils and other consuming groups to form the CITAC/ASDA Shrimp Task Force. The goal of the Shrimp Task Force is to assure that the U.S. government considers all the facts in the case fairly and objectively, with a full understanding of the ramifications of any decision.