January 20, 2005
Southern Shrimp Alliance
1150 Deleisseliene Blvd.
Mt. Pleasant, SC 92464
I am in receipt of your letter dated January 18, 2005 regarding countries affected by the tsunami tragedy. Frankly, I was shocked by its contents. The rhetoric (and personal attacks) coming from the Southern Shrimp Alliance (SSA) over the past year towards ASDA and the six targeted countries can at best be described as inflammatory, but your letter seeking to exploit human tragedy for short-term public relations purposes sets a new low. I find it both surprising and distasteful that the Southern Shrimp Alliance would try to benefit politically from a tragedy that has resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people and has devastated the livelihoods of countless survivors throughout Southeast Asia.
As you know, the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) announced on January 6, 2005 that it intended to launch a “changed circumstances” review proceeding in order to determine whether the damage to the shrimp industries in India and Thailand warranted revocation of the anti-dumping order that the ITC approved for these two countries that same day. The ITC should be allowed to assess the damage to the shrimp industries in India and Thailand and make its determination on a non-partisan, independent basis. Your letter is nothing more than a blatant attempt to interfere with the ITC investigation.
Over the past several days, World Trade Organization Director-General Supachai Panitchpakdi, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan, and other international organizations and donor agency leaders have made eloquent appeals to urge governments of developed countries to ease trade restrictions and reconsider penalties imposed on the exports from tsunami-affected countries. Comparing these eloquent statements to the naked opportunism contained in your correspondence frankly makes me angry that we are even engaging in this discussion.
Nevertheless, I feel compelled to respond publicly to the outrageous claims contained in your letter.
For example, your “challenge” for importers to pay “full fair value” for shrimp imported from those affected countries amounts to a request that shrimp importers and exporters engage in illegal price fixing, since you are saying that importers should now agree to pay a specified percentage premium on top of current prices that equals the antidumping margins. Surely you know that, by law, no one can publicly or privately agree to pay any specific price; and you must know that prices must be determined by market conditions and independently arrived at supplier and purchaser assessments of those conditions. Moreover, if competitive conditions are ignored, then exporters in all of the countries not subject to antidumping duties will take more and more sales away from those exporters in Thailand and India and other affected countries.
Regarding the Byrd Amendment, it has already been documented that support for your petition was generated by an express suggestion that Byrd money would be available to the supporters if you were successful. A pledge by SSA members to renounce their rights to all Byrd refunds would lend some credence to your claim that Byrd monies had nothing to do with SSA filing this petition, and it would go a long way towards eliminating the suspicion that your real concern is about the loss of Byrd funds if the dumping duties were eliminated for India and Thailand by the ITC.
In closing, I would greatly appreciate if you would forward to your members the contact information for the National Fisheries Institute (NFI) Seafood Community Tsunami Victim's Fund, established for the seafood community to provide support to tsunami victims in order to help prevent further loss of life. This would be a far more appropriate way to express your concern for the millions of tsunami victims.
Donations can be sent to:
The NFI Seafood Community Tsunami Victim's Fund
ATTN: Tony Pelegrin
7918 Jones Branch Drive, Suite 700
McLean, VA 22102.
American Seafood Distributors Association