Thanks to the efforts and leadership of Congressman Charles Boustany (R-LA), SSA achieved a major legislative milestone on behalf of US shrimpers in its efforts to combat illegal shrimp imports and the fraudulent circumvention of antidumping duties by importers of foreign shrimp. House Ways & Means Committee Chairman David Camp (R-MI) and Trade Subcommittee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) announced that HR 5708; the “PROTECT Act”, has been included as Title III of the “Customs Trade Facilitation and Enforcement Act of 2012” (HR 6642), introduced by Chairman Brady today.
SSA has been working intensively with the PROTECT Act’s authors and the Committee leadership on this bipartisan legislation for the past 18 months. The PROTECT Act was originally introduced by Louisiana Congressmen Boustany and Richmond (D-LA) on May 10, 2012, and Congressman Boustany took the leadership role in advancing the legislation as a Member of the Committee. Shortly after introduction, the bill was the subject of a Ways & Means Committee hearing at which Executive Director John Williams was a key witness in support of the bill.
The PROTECT Act includes a broad array of measures to substantially strengthen the ability of the federal Customs and Border Protection (CBP) not only to investigate and prosecute those instances where circumvention of US statutory protections for the shrimp and other industries has occurred, but to prevent such fraudulent evasion from happening in the first place before damage to US industry is done. The inclusion of this legislation in the Committee’s larger CBP authorization bill demonstrates the firm commitment of the Committee’s majority leadership to moving this bill forward towards enactment and to effect some major improvements to the ability of the federal government to combat illegal trade. As stated by Chairman Camp in the Committee’s Press Release, “A key component of ensuring that our international competitors play by the rules is the bipartisan legislation sponsored by Rep. Charles Boustany to address evasion and underpayment of antidumping and countervailing duties.”
It is clear this legislation will be a top priority of the Ways & Means Committee in the upcoming 113th Congress and SSA will be working closely with them to secure timely enactment. SSA Executive Director John Williams offered the following: “On behalf of all US shrimpers I want to express my profound appreciation to Congressman Boustany and Richmond as the original authors of this pivotal PROTECT Act, and to Ways & Means Trade Subcommittee Kevin Brady for his extraordinary leadership and clear vision in introducing the “Customs Trade Facilitation and Enforcement Act of 2012. Circumvention of the antidumping orders on shrimp has had a terrible impact on our industry and I know many other US industries have suffered similarly. I expect this seminal legislation will be a game changer for our friends at CBP who work tirelessly to enforce our US trade laws every day of the year.”
link to Ways & Means Press Release http://waysandmeans.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=314803
link to “Customs Trade Facilitation and Enforcement Act of 2012” (HR 6642): http://waysandmeans.house.gov/uploadedfiles/customs_bill.pdf
link to section-by-section summary of HR 6642: http://waysandmeans.house.gov/UploadedFiles/customs_section-by-section.pdf
SSA Press Release on Introduction of the PROTECT Act: http://www.shrimpalliance.com/?p=1861