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CITAC Shrimp Task Force

CITAC Shrimp Task Force Press Conference

April 01, 2004
01:00 p.m. ET
Host: Dara Klatt


This is a transcription request for PBN Company moderated by Berra Clark, at 1 o’clock P.M. Eastern Standard Time. Conference ID # 425493. The topic is CITAC Shrimp Task Force, (audio gap).

Erik Autor:

Erik Autor, Vice President of the National Retail Federation and member of the Board of Directors of the Consuming Industries Trade Action Coalition or CITAC. I want to welcome everyone on behalf of CITAC and our co-hosts The American Seafood Distributors Association. First of all, I would like to introduce the people who are standing up here with me today, first we have Wally Stevens, who is President of the American Seafood Distributors Association and Chairman of the Shrimp Task Force. Also we have Laura Baughman, who is President Trade Partnership and who is CITACs Economist. Next, we have Stephen Grover, Vice President, Health and Safety Regulatory Affairs with the National Restaurant Association, Russ Mintzer, President and Chief Executive Officer of King and Prince Seafood Corporation, and Tim Bridgewater, Spokesperson for the Utah Artemia Association. Also I would like to introduce Warren Connelly from Akin Gump who as ASDAs lawyer, and there he is in the back.

CITAC was founded in 2001 to give consuming industries and their employees a voice in US trade policy. CITAC seeks to ensure open access to global markets for raw materials and finished products that enhance the international competitiveness of US firms. Many of you know us from our work to defeat the Section 201 Steel Tariffs in 2002. CITAC was a leading opponent of these tariffs, and changed the terms of this major trade policy debate, by helping convince, by organizing steel consumers into political force. CITACs efforts helped convinced President Bush to terminate steel tariffs early in December 2003. The steel tariffs are the one example of how relatively small segments of our economy can manipulate trade policy for the benefit of a few, but at the expense of millions of Americans employed by consuming industries.

Three years ago a group of US shrimpers filed anti-dumping -- I am sorry, three months ago a group US shrimpers filed anti-dumping petitions at the International Trade Commission in the Commerce Department, targeting shrimp imports from six countries. CITAC has watched the domestic shrimp industry launch a public relations and lobbying campaign that echoes the same tried refrain that was used by the steel industry. Imports are to blame for all of our problems, and we need US government to tax consuming industries and their customers to save us.

Imports account for almost 90 percent of all shrimp consumed in this country. And the country is targeted by the petition account for 72 percent of these imports. US shrimpers cannot catch anymore shrimps then they are currently catching in the ocean. In short, if the petitioners win, it will be a disaster for a huge sector of the US economy and could adversely impact thousands of American jobs. In addition, consumers will feel the impact directly because of supply disruptions and price hikes. This attempt at economic isolation could have major economic implications for consuming industries and the American families they serve. Today, we are here to announce that CITAC will join with ASDA to fight this petition.

CITAC and ASDA have brought together concerned grocers, restaurants, processors, distributors, business councils, and other consuming groups to form a Shrimp Task Force to ensure that the US government considers all the facts in this case fairly and objectively, with a full understanding of the ramifications of any decision. CITAC will forcefully combat the PR campaigns being conducted by the petitioners, who will educate policy makers, the media, and the public on the potential devastating ramifications of this baseless trade case. Our goal is simple, to defeat this petition with the facts. We believe that the shrimp case provides a case study of what is wrong with the way US dumping laws are applied. And once the facts emerge, the ITC and the commerce department will decide against imposing duties on imported shrimp. Today, you will hear from other US industry groups, who would pay the price for this protectionism. Let me introduce Chairman of the Shrimp Task Force as the President Wally Stevens.

Wally Stevens:

Thank you. Good afternoon and thank you for coming today. My name is Wally Stevens, in addition to serving as President and Chief and Operating Officer of Slade Gorton and Company, a 75-year-old importing and marketing firm headquartered in Boston, I am also President of the American Seafood Distributors Association, better known to us as ASDA.

ASDA has been around for over 30 years, and was formed to address the increasing trend in our industry to use trade protection as the default drive, for domestic seafood industry is in trouble. We saw it in salmon, we saw it in crab, we saw it in crawfish and then catfish. And now, we are seeing protectionism where it is head again as a threat to shrimp, Americas favorite seafood. As this mission from the start was to ensure that shrimp could be traded and sold without protectionist measures such as duties and tariffs or quoters, this type of enterprise and harm American consumers.

Personally, I am a 35-year veteran of this industry. I have spent time working in Brownsville, Texas in the shrimp industry. And I stand before you today, to tell you that we’ve never faced a more destructive issue in our industry than the one before us, and that is the potential imposition of duties ranging from 90 to 200 percent or nearly 75 percent of this US shrimp supply. Our message is a very serious one. Protectionist actions against three-quarters of our nations supply of shrimp will have dire consequences, American businesses, American workers, and perhaps most importantly American consumers, who benefit from a nutritious safe delicious seafood item.

We are here today to tell you that the domino effect on $2.4 billion worth of high value seafood will be felt in every region of our country, by businesses ranging from large multinational corporations to the smallest of mom and pop companies. Tariffs will have a devastating impact, not only on those businesses that import, distribute, process and deliver shrimp to the consumer, but also those in support services to the shrimp supply chain. Such as food logistics companies, customs brokers, cold storage warehouse operators, freight forwarders, and trucking companies such as Service Transport Inc., headquartered near by here in Federalsburg, Maryland. And joining us today, is that company’s President (Wayne Holman), his 200 plus employees believe their jobs are important too.

Already the threat of tariffs has unsettled the marketplace, and postponed expansion plans for at least one cold storage company that I am aware of. Tariffs will harm thousands of America’s workers, and will force America’s favorite seafood item to again become a luxury item, that only the rich can afford. Those of us in the seafood business know that shrimp did not get to be the top selling seafood for the last two years running because it was a high-priced commodity. Shrimp has always been one of the America’s favorite foods, never has had a demand problem, the real issue is this. How are we as a nation going to feed our growing population with traditional hunting methods or with the benefits of technology that have spun today’s aquaculture revolution.

Until the advent of aquaculture technology, supply has been the problem. Supplies of wild shrimp in the Gulf and South of Atlantic are finite. There is no way that domestic shrimp harvest can even remotely begin to satisfy America’s growing appetite for shrimp. Traditional shrimp fisheries has always been a marginally profitable business. According to a study conducted by Texas A&M which examined the years from 1986 through 1997 that cost the averaged shrimp trawler 98 cents for every dollar of revenue it generated. Are imports to blame for this? In contrast, technology advances have made it possible for shrimp to be grown in some 30 countries around the world. Technology advances in shrimp production have resulted in the efficiencies that we see in the modern agro business, better yields, the economies of scale, and efficiencies in all aspects of the growing cycle that have resulted in a highly competitive global industry. Can we really say that the use of technology to produce more food, more efficiently equates to unfair competition to dumping? There are ways for traditional harvesters to compete and succeed, as we have seen with other segments of our seafood industry. In fact, our own domestic seafood shrimp fishing industry sought the help of the federal government the National Marine Fishery Service in 2002 to explore ways for it to become more competitive and to solve a host of problems that have little to do with imports and everything to do with the way the world harvest is managed. We find it astounding and appalling that this study, the study requested by the domestic shrimp industry which we know has been completed, we know has been peer reviewed, has not been released today and won’t probably continue to be held hostage, and why? A few chapters of this study were inadvertently released over the Internet suggesting that the studies authors outlined the extent to which the domestic industries rose have little to do with imports and everything to do with the way the fishery is currently managed. We suspect the National Marine Fishery service front plan probably contains some of these better solutions. Unfortunately, that plan is being held hostage by political pressure, from the petitioners, the very people who asked for it to be undertaken.

For nearly two years, ASDA has called for leadership from our elected and appointed officials in Washington. Including on calls to our leaders to release the shrimp plan, so that all facts can be brought to light. Today, we are calling for transparency in the process that now appears to be tainted, by back room politics and special interest. We would like some answers to questions that we may have that may have a significant bearing on the outcome of this investigation. Why hasn’t the National Marine Fishery Service released the shrimp plan? Now why the way, how did a country like Mexico is taken out of the case? When just one year ago it was named as the likely respondent country. (Rummo) has it that a $1.3 million contribution to the Southern Shrimp Alliance, who are the petitioners in this case turned an enemy into a friend sometime in 2003 before the partition was filed.

Finally, how does it make sense to harm consumers and businesses in our industry, the other domestic industry to protect the small and uncompetitive industry? We want answers and we want transparency. Toward this end we are delighted, and pleased to announce today that ASDA has entered into this new alliance with the consuming industries trade, action, coalition or CITAC. To deliver a common message and make our voices heard, we are grateful to our new partners who are bringing this message to you today and we thank you for being here to listen. Thank you.

Erik Autor:

I do want to mention to you one element in this case, that is also I think disturbing for us, and that is the so-called Byrd Amendment. Just for those you who are unfamiliar with this, this is a provision that was slipped on to an Agricultural Appropriations Bill a couple of years ago, which basically anti-dumping duties over -- out of the treasury and over to petitioning industries. We – I wanted to raise this because the Byrd Amendment money has been used as a recruiting tool by the petitioners in this case to get support for their partition. The promise being that, if you support the petition you will end up seeing money from the US treasury in form of the dumping duties. One reason why we think cases like this are -- and this is why we think cases like this are appealing to domestic producers is the lure of this government handout. CITAC has been working for years, several years for their appeal of the Byrd Amendment, which as I said directs anti-dumping duties to petitioners, and the shrimp case is a prime example of what is wrong with this law. As stated so eloquently by Sebastian Mallaby in Washington post earlier this week, the Byrd Amendment unites the ethics of ambulance chasing lawyers with dump trade protectionism. If successful, the shrimp case could provide the petitioners with a hefty financial windfall. And this is in addition to the increase on prices that we would expect were this case successful. Using conservative estimates of dumping margins, those eligible to receive the financial windfalls from the Byrd Amendment in this shrimp case could amount to $180 million in annual payment or $827,000 per company, each year in payoffs of anti-dumping special interest taxes on food imports. We have included materials in the press kit circulated by the petitioners, The Southern Shrimp Alliance to solicit support for the anti-dumping petition promoting Byrd money as the primary motivation for joining the petition. This kickback will come right out of the pockets of American consumers and taxpayers through what is basically a federal food tax that would be imposed on imported shrimp. In return, consuming industries’ jobs are adversely impacted in the US exports, and the American jobs they create are threatened with retaliation.

Next, I want to recognize CITACs economist Laura Baughman, who will now give you an overview of the number of shrimp consuming jobs versus shrimp producing jobs. Laura.

Laura Baughman:

Thank you Erik. My name is Laura Baughman, and I am CITAC’s Economist and President of the Trade Partnership. Most of the media attention to date has been focussed on the plied of US shrimpers based on US International Trade Commission data, preliminary research actually from the ITC, there are about 12,000 to 13,000 jobs in that sector concentrated largely in the Southeast and the Southwest. The CITAC as the shrimp task force, is here today to raise awareness that the outcome of the shrimp trade petition could adversely affect many more American workers on the consuming side. We estimate that more than 250,000 Americans work in shrimp consuming sectors, these jobs are spread all across the country. We are talking about workers who process imported shrimp, notably companies that prepare shrimp by breading it or marinating it for example. You will hear shortly from Russ Mintzer about that.

Workers who sell shrimp in fish stores and grocery stores, workers who sell shrimp in restaurants, Steven Grover from the National Restaurant Association will tell you about them. Workers who harvest and process US brine shrimp and soybeans that are exported to support shrimp farming overseas, Tim Bridgewater will talk about that on behalf of the Brine Shrimp Association.

The trade partnership used ITC data coupled with data from the National Marine Fishery Service to calculate the value of shrimp sales to each of the different sectors of the economy. From that, we calculate the number of jobs related to those sales. The total, as I have already indicated, is in excess of 250,000. Think about this way, there are 20 shrimp consuming jobs for every one shrimp producing job in the United States, 20:1. Only time will tell how these jobs will be affected by this investigation because the impact depends in large part on how the commerce department calculates its dumping margins and whether the ITC ultimately concludes that imports are the primary cause of injury to US shrimpers. If you assume the worst, high margins and the finding of injury caused by imports, and shrimp costs are at least in the short term there will be a negative impact on shrimp consuming workers, some will lose their jobs, others will see their income cut. The lament of a union worker at a steel consuming plant during CITAC’s fight against the steel tariff rings just as true for these shrimp consuming workers. He said “tell me why a producing job matters more than mind”. Far too often America’s trade policy is dictated by the interests of small groups of producers at the interest of the much larger groups of workers who benefit from imports. Making sure that the latter group is heard is the chief goal of CITAC. With respect to the shrimp investigation it makes no sense for the government to dampen incentives for job creation, tenuous as they are now, by jacking up the cost of yet another raw material upon which these workers rely for their living and take-home pay. One of our key messages to you is that US trade remedy loss should not cost the American workers their job or their income. When you have a 20:1 ratio such losses are a real risk. In the days and months ahead, we plan to help those government officials charge with administing this investigation to understand better the broader ramification of their decisions. Thank you.

Erik Autor:

I would like now to welcome a (Stephen Grover) from National Restaurant Association, who will tell us about how duties on shrimp could effect the restaurant industry. Steve.

Stephen Grover:

Good afternoon, I am Stephen Grover, Vice President Health and Safety Regulatory Affairs for the National Restaurant Association in Washington D.C. The National Restaurant Association represents 315,000 restaurant locations across the country. The restaurant industry is the cornerstone of the nation’s economy, career opportunities, and community involvement. It is a $440 billion industry comprised of 878,000 individual restaurant units in this country. We employee over 12 million employees in the restaurant and food service industry, making our industry the largest private sector employer in the nation. We are proud to be members of the Shrimp Task Force and we will work with our coalition partners to defeat this ill conceived and potential damaging trade petition. We will do everything we can to protect our members, their employes, and their customers from this unfair Shrimp Task. Shrimp is a favorite appetizer and center of a plate item in many restaurants. Quite simply, shrimp brings customers in to family restaurants like no other item. Shrimp imports over the past five years have been responsible for putting shrimp in restaurant menus at reasonable prices for American consumers. Today, shrimp in restaurants is no longer considered a luxury item. Yet high duties on imported shrimp will take the product away from families, and average consumers and may even return us to the days when shrimp was considered a delicacy for wealthy or special occasions. This healthy probe key is a vital component on many menus and is used in a variety of dishes across the country. For restaurants access to safe affordable seafood is a top priority. Imposing an unfair Shrimp Tax could impact small business owners, restaurant chains and their employees, including Philip Seafood based in Baltimore, one of my family’s favorite restaurants. (Aden King), Director of Operations for Phillips joins us today. Many of you may be familiar with the restaurants, which would certainly be directly impacted by this tax. Various restaurant concepts across the country depend on imported shrimps for a variety of items on their menu. And customers frequently request those items, when they go out to enjoy a meal. Higher prices could result in having to remove shrimp and shrimp based dishes from menus, which in turn could result in loosing customers who regularly look forward to consuming those items. Ultimately, the consumer will be punished by this unfair tax. US shrimpers simply cannot meet the supply demands that the current market dictates. If the petitioners win, nearly three quarters of the shrimp now available through imports will removed from the market and remove from restaurants. This will hit the moderate and low price family restaurant concepts the hardest. Our industry is driven by consumer demand, but if that demand is reduced due to higher prices on one of the most popular items on the menu that will certainly impact customer traffic. Fewer customers in restaurants will mean some restaurant employees may loose their jobs or have to work fewer hours. Bottom-line, high shrimp prices will result in an economic hardship to the men and women who work in the restaurants industry in this country. And we intend to defend our members and their employees and our customers from this burden from food tax. Thank you.

Erik Autor:

Russ Mintzer traveled here form Georgia to talk about how a – about the shrimper’s petitions and how it could impact his company King & Prince Seafood Corporation. Russ.

Russ Mintzer:

My name is Russ Mintzer and I am the President and Chief Executive Officer of King & Prince Seafood Corporation in Brunswick, Georgia. King & Prince Seafood Corporation is an employee owned business, where you process the value added seafood products primarily shrimp. And we are owned by our 530 employee owners, and it’s on their behalf that I come before you today. I hope you don’t take this personally, but I would much rather be back in Brunswick than here in Washington DC. King & Prince Seafood has been investors for 54 years. We have had a deal with the ups and downs of the market place and we’ve had good years and we’ve bad. But I am outraged that I am here forced to come to Washington to defend my business from the actions of my government. Let me be clear. My business depends on imported shrimp since –imports account for 90 percent of the shrimp sold in the United States. I am not -- and I am not alone in this, thousands of other businesses process and serve imported shrimp. And like me, this case threatens them and their employees. We create exciting new products for restaurants chains. Products that may be breaded, might be marginated, sauced, blended with other ingredients and then are promoted by restaurants chains through out the United States. How do we creat exciting new products for family restaurants, if less shrimp at higher prices becomes the reality. My question to the government and specifically to the Commerce Department and the internals and the international trade commission is this: “Why are shrimps producing jobs more important than our company shrimp processing jobs”. US Trades walls are not supposed to put Americans out of the work, but this is just what is going to happen if these huge duties are placed on imported shrimp as a result of this trade case. I am angry that my own government is putting my business and my employees at risk, because the small segment of the shrimp industry refuses to modernize. For this I am going to be forced to pay a tax and with even more outrages is that the revenues from this tax are going to go directly to shrimpers and their lawyers. And each shrimper withstands the gain nearly $1 million each year, and for what? Except for enriching a few shrimpers placing a tax on shrimp imports will do nothing to help the industry. As shrimpers in this country simply can’t pull more shrimps out of the ocean. Instead the tax is going to hurt businesses like mine, who play by the rules, are willing to compete globally and who have never slogged nor wanted government handouts. I want to spend my time running my business, working with my employees and competing in the market place. I have never run to Washington to solve my business problems but I am left with no choice but to come here to fight this petition. I want the government to fully understand what they are doing to my business, and to the thousands of other businesses like mine. If they approve this baseless petition. Thank you.

Erik Autor:

Thank you Russ. Next Tim Bridgewater spokesperson for the Utah Artemina Association is here to shed some light on how the consequences of this petition for some US exporters. Tim.

Tim Bridgewater:

Please hold you applause until the end. I am – its actually not the Armenians by the way, its the Artemina which is probably something you are not familiar with and that’s no problem. I think we should look at how this effects the Armenians as well, later but… I am Tim Bridgewater and I am the Spokesmen for the Utah Artemina Association. A group of more than 75 licensed harvesters incorporating 22 small businesses harvesting Artemina, more commonly known as brine shrimp from the Great Salt Lake. Why is the guy from Utah who represents the so-called sea monkey industry coming here to talk about the shrimp trade case involving Asians and Southern shrimpers? Utahan’s have a significant stake in this debate. The brine shrimp industry in Utah employees approximately 500 Utahans. And generates revenues sometimes surpassing $50 million annually, primarily from the export of brine shrimp to Latin America and Asia. In addition, American or America exports 100’s of millions of dollars of soya bean to be used as feed for the farm raised shrimp industry. Americans love shrimps apart of the development of the shrimp export business in Asia and the farm raised shrimps favorite food is brine shrimp. The growth of the Asian export market has greatly benefited Utah by creating a growing demand for brine shrimps eggs. Most of the Brine shrimp eggs taken from the Great Salt Lake are sold as farm raised shrimp food. Negative impacts on US brine shrimps as well as the soya bean exporters are great examples of the unintended consequences of trade protectionism that ripples through our economy. Members of our association have worked hard to develop their business in these import and export markets as well. We are participating in the global economy as encouraged by the United States government. Now, our livelihood is threatened because of this shrimp petition. Should the government impose duties, this will cut shrimp exports to the United States meaning that less shrimp are being raised, which means less food is needed to feed these shrimp for your exports from Utah.

If the government intervenes in this industry, I will cost American jobs. From the agricultural industry including many struggling small businesses in Utah. We in the brine shrimp industry would like to know why the US government believes our jobs are less important than the shrimp petitioner’s jobs. This case is nothing, but an attempt by a small group of businesses, who don’t want to compete in the market place to use the government to take money out of our pockets and the pockets of consumers and put it in their own pockets. Thank you.

Erik Autor:

Finally, we often hear from petitioners that if the country is targeted we are not dumping that we have noting to fear. Overall the fact is that the deck is stacked against both the targets of the petition and the consuming industries. The ITC and Commerce Process is far from transparent or fair. Commerce has an incredible amount of discretion to decide critical issues throughout this process. We have invited (Bill Barenger) from Willkie Farr & Gallagher to join us today to give you one example. Willkie Farr is representing Thailand and Vietnam in this case.

Bill Barenger:

I wanted to state that the outset that, I didn’t invent the name “Frankenshrimp”. But, we are going to use that name as we go through this. Many of you probably think that the process of determining dumping is simply matter of plugging in some numbers into a computer and a dumping margin is spit out of the computer. The Commerce Department has no discretion and that it always follows the same rules, that the process is objective and fair. Well, we want to meet our “Frankenshrimp.” One of the most important determinations in any anti-dumping case, is the methodology that the commerce department uses to compare prices of the product sold in United States with the prices of the products sold to other countries or the comparison of markets.

If shrimp sell for more in the comparison market, than in the Untied States, this will be deemed dumping. In the shrimp case, this test is complicated by the fact that shrimp exported to the US and other countries comes in many forms. Headless, head on, peeled, shell on, deveined, tail off, cooked, seasoned and so forth. Each form has a different cost and price. In order to make a fair judgment the commerce department should compare prices of one for of shrimp sold to the United States to the prices of the same or the most similar form of shrimp actually sold in the comparison market.

Indeed, this is what the commerce department has been doing in virtually every case over the past three decades. Unfortunately, the commerce department is considering a different approach; to comparing US shrimp prices to prices in other markets. The department has informed the targeted exporters in the shrimp case, that they must convert all of the actual shrimp products that they sold in the United States and the comparison market into a fictional shrimp that has been de-headed, but still has it's shell on. Exclusive of cooking, seasoning, preservatives and any other processing item other than freezing. After having converted all of their products to this fictional shrimp, exporters must then convert the prices of the shrimp they actually sold to these fictional headless shell on shrimp prices.

However, the department has not provided any guidance to exporters as to how to do this. No where has it explained, why it has apparently chosen to disregard the actual products and prices that exporters charge. In other words, to comply with the commerce department, the respondents must do the following and that’s what our steps are here: They have to take their head off, they have to put the vein back in if it is deveined. They have to put the shell back on if its been shelled. They have to put the tail back on if it’s been tail off. They have to uncook it is sold in a cooked form and they have to squeeze all the spices, seasoning and preservatives out of the shrimp as well as to unstretch it, quite a task.

Obviously, the exporters are being required to do something that they don’t do in the normal course of business, and to create records in a form that would allow them to reverse engineer all of the shrimp production. There are no industry standards for building fictional shrimp or for calculating prices for fictional shrimp, that foreign shrimp processors never produced or sold. If the exporters fail to provide the requested fictional shrimp products and prices, the commerce department will penalize them, by imposing punitively high anti-dumping margins. Who recommended this approach? Lawyers or the petitioners of course. And it was adopted virtually, word for word by the commerce department. By pretending that all shrimps sold to all markets can be made theoretically identical. The commerce department is trying to compare apples to oranges. This artificial calculation masks important cost and price distinctions. The only purpose of requiring reports on sales of such fictional shrimp is to create anti-dumping margins where they would otherwise not exist. Thank you.

Male Speaker:

The CITAC and ASDA shrimp task force will work to assure that the US government considers all the facts in the case fairly and objectively. With a full understanding of the ramifications of any decisions. As you have heard today, shrimp is America’s number one seafood because of imports. Grocers and restaurants depend on imported shrimp to meet the consumer demand. This trade case threatens imports that have been responsible for making shrimp a reasonably priced staple of Americans daily diet instead of a delicacy that only the rich can afford. Nobody denies that the domestic shrimp industries is suffering from hard times. These problems are largely a result of the industries own failure to modernize. Economic isolationism is not the answer. Placing duties on the imports will do nothing to help the industry, but will damage a much wider sector of the US economy. CITAC is determined not to let this happen. We will now, be happy to take any questions that you may have.

Can I – kind of make a go to the microphone so that the journalists on the phone can hear your question, thanks. And I ask you to please introduce yourself.

Warren Vieth:

Warren Vieth, Los Angeles Times. I assume that there is more that goes into the grocery store price of shrimp than just the wholesale price of the shrimp itself and the same would be to the restaurants. If hopefully, our shrimp prices doubled, how much do you estimate that grocery store prices would go up and what would happen in restaurants? In other words how much gets pass through?

Laura Baughman:

It's going to vary with the restaurant and the grocer because different restaurants and different grocers have different consumers. We are going to be working on a good answer to the question, in the coming months. So, I hope to have something more concrete for you in future. I can’t give you a number today or percentage today. But, for as we have already heard for the moderate and the lower price change, its going to be, the past – there is not a lot of margin there for anybody to eat anything not been intended. So, all that is going to have to be passed on or the product is going to have to come off, of the menu. But, as I say, we will – we are going to be working – that’s my very next project to work on.

Russ Mintzer:

I will answer to that briefly for restaurants and it's absolutely the point. That’s why we mentioned the family and moderately priced restaurants. There are very low margin businesses, and there is no, almost no room for pass through. They are also within a narrow range that the consumer considers family pricing. And so, they’ve just simply don’t have a lot of room either to move it up or if they move it up it comes – it prices itself out of the market from a family perspective. So, it would basically come off the menu. So, again you know, these things are fixed and consumers who go out regularly with their families have an expected price range and have to stay very close within that. So…

Paul Nathanson:

I think, we are going to take a question from the phone. (audio gap) you know, while they are doing that, we will take one of the question from the room.

John McQuaid:

I am John McQuaid from the New Orleans Times-Picayune. Some industry observers I have talked to suggest that given the highest stakes in this on both sides that a settlement might be one possible outcome. Is that a possibility in your eyes or both sides are still very far apart?

Wally Stevens:

Well, we certainly were hoping that an agreement could have been reached prior to a filing. We’ve worked for the last year and a half with the domestic industry and the industry that is hurting. To find some better solutions for them, and we’ve worked with them to provide marketing moneys for them, our community has provided marketing support to the domestic shrimp industry, we’ve been hopeful that the National Marine Fisheries Service business plan would offer a lot of solutions to this domestic industry. Unfortunately, we’ve received more lip service when we did real good intentions and to we’ve reached the point where petition has been filed. We are going through a process and this process will unfold hopefully in a fair way. So that appropriate decisions will – can be reached. We’ve heard no overtures from the domestic shrimp industry for any solutions, nothing by their actions up to this point in time suggest they are interested in any solution other than money is from the board amendment.

Male Speaker:

And I might just add with respect to the board amendment, there are one of the – one of a the worst things about it is that it actually discourages settlement because the petitioners by settling would be forfeiting. In this case, millions of dollars in board money that they wouldn’t see.

Dara Klatt:

Do we have a question online from phone?


Again if you have a question please press the one key on your touch-tone telephone.

Dara Klatt:

We will take another question from the room.

Apollo Tang:

As I know, America imports shrimp from Thailand, Vietnam, and parts of Brazil and China and India. I want to know, which country is a biggest shrimp provider. And if the petition succeeds, which country would suffer most?

Wally Stevens:

Well, the biggest producer of shrimp is Thailand, in terms of its product flow to the North American marketplace. The range of duties that the petitioners have suggested, our range as I mentioned earlier from 32 percent to 349 percent in Brazil, and in Thailand those duties would range 58 percent is the average of duties, in other words a $4 shrimp would now go up to $6 in change with that tax imposed on it. So there – each country has their own responsibilities to address those issues and certainly we will be doing that in a very aggressive manner. Any other question?

T.V. (Press Trust India):

Can you list figures for other countries? Can you give figures for other countries?

Wally Stevens:

Do you have figures from other countries.

(multiple speakers)

Laura Baughman:

Okay. I will tell very quickly here. Brazil, imports from Brazil in 2002 were $87.6 million, Ecuador $192.3 million, India $354.4 million, China $285.3 million, Thailand $956.4 million, and Vietnam $476.5 million. Unfortunately, this isn’t ranked but you can get it from there. And then in terms of the margins, the alleged margins. The high ends of the margins are Brazil 349 percent, Ecuador 166 percent, India 110 percent, China 264 percent, Thailand 58 percent, and Vietnam 93 percent.

Paul Nathanson:

Any other questions? Again its The speakers will be available to answer your questions after the conference. I thank everybody for attending and thank all those on the phone as well. Thank you.