FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 29, 2005
The PBN Company
DOMESTIC SHRIMPERS HAVE NOTHING TO FEAR
FROM ITC INVESTIGATION THAT COULD END DUTIES
ON THAI AND INDIAN SHRIMP IMPORTS
Washington, DC – The Shrimp Task Force today stated that U.S. shrimpers had nothing to fear from the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) investigation on Indian and Thai shrimp imports because the duties will only be lifted if the ITC determines that imports from the countries devastated by the Asian tsunami would not be likely to harm the U.S. shrimp industry. The Task Force urged the Southern Shrimp Alliance to fully cooperate with the investigation and avoid rhetoric that minimizes the tragedy and loss of life suffered by India and Thailand.
In a five-to-one vote earlier this week, the ITC commissioners launched an expected 120-day "changed circumstances" review that could lead to the revocation of duties on shrimp imports from India and Thailand as a result of the damage caused by the tsunami. On the heels of the December 2004 tsunami, according to the most recently compiled statistics, U.S. shrimp imports from India dropped 57% in January and February 2005 compared to the same period in 2004. Shrimp imports to the U.S. from Thailand dropped 27% during the same timeframe.
"We support the ITC's decision to investigate whether or not shrimp imports from India and Thailand still pose any kind of 'threat' to the domestic shrimp industry," said Wally Stevens, Chairman of the Shrimp Task Force." Every report indicates that the damage to the two countries has been enormous — and that the brunt of the damage was borne by the seafood industry sectors of both countries.
"It's unfortunate that the SSA is bringing politics into the investigation," Stevens continued. "The SSA's statement that they alone should not bear 'the burden' of helping these countries, but that all Americans should share the burden of providing tsunami relief, rings hollow since duties collected on shrimp imports only benefit the shrimp industry. Thanks to the Byrd Amendment, the money collected from the tax on shrimp imports is now redirected from the U.S. Treasury, where it would have benefited all Americans, straight to the pockets of SSA members."
"In addition to being forced to pay more for shrimp, American taxpayers have already been bearing the burden of the SSA's trade case: the Governor of Louisiana gave $350,000 in taxpayer funds to the SSA to finance the anti-dumping lawsuit, and federal emergency funds meant to help the industry were directed to the lawsuit instead," said Stevens.
"If lifting the duties on India and Thailand could benefit tsunami victims without hurting the U.S. shrimp industry, then the obvious, rational action is to terminate this tax. Twenty thousand people are dead and missing in the two countries; hundreds of thousands are homeless and in refugee camps in India alone. I urge the SSA to read independent reports from India and Thailand of the tragedy that has befallen these people before making statements that the review is 'just a political ploy' and the 'industry received minimal damage'," concluded Stevens.
In December of last year, the Department of Commerce imposed duties on shrimp imports from India of 4.94% to 15.6% and from Thailand of 5.9% to 6.8%. In January, the ITC upheld the duties but signaled its willingness to consider conducting the highly unusual review. Four other countries — Brazil, China, Ecuador and Vietnam — are also subject to dumping duties after a group of domestic shrimpers, long unable to keep up with efficiently produced, high quality shrimp imports, filed an anti-dumping lawsuit against their foreign competition in late 2003.
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.
For more information, please contact George Felcyn at or