On Friday, the five Commissioners currently sitting on the U.S. International Trade Commission (“Commission”) voted unanimously that the submissions by the U.S. domestic shrimp industry in response to the notice of institution of the third sunset reviews of the antidumping duty orders on certain frozen warmwater shrimp from China, India, Thailand, and Vietnam were “adequate,” meaning that they had met the statutory and regulatory requirements to justify a full review of the trade relief. The Commission additionally evaluated the responses to the agency’s notice of institution submitted by the Seafood Exporters Association of India, by sixteen different Thai shrimp producers and exporters, and by eight different Vietnamese shrimp producers and exporters and found each of these to be “adequate” as well. The Commission further noted that no response to the notice of institution of the sunset reviews had been submitted by any party interested in Chinese shrimp and, as such, found the response of the Chinese industry to be “inadequate.”
Because the responses of the domestic industry and the responses of three of the four foreign industries were found to be “adequate,” the Commission unanimously voted to conduct a full review of all four antidumping duty orders.
Earlier this summer, the U.S. Department of Commerce (“Commerce”) informed the Commission that no foreign industry had provided an “adequate” response to that agency’s notice of initiation of sunset reviews. Accordingly, Commerce reported that it intended to issue its final determination as to whether dumping of shrimp would continue or recur on an expedited basis using facts available by the end of this month.
For the domestic shrimp industry, this means that there is just one more step that must be met in order to maintain the antidumping duties on shrimp imports from China, India, Thailand, and Vietnam for another five years: the Commission’s full sunset review.
In that review, the Commission will issue questionnaires to U.S. shrimp fishermen, farmers, and processors in order to obtain information necessary to evaluate whether the domestic shrimp industry will be materially injured if the trade relief is removed. Generic examples of these questionnaires can be obtained at the ITC’s website at the following link: https://usitc.gov/trade_remedy/question.htm. The Commission is expected to formally announce a schedule for the final phase of its review sometime later this year.
In finding the submissions from the domestic industry “adequate,” the Commission formally recognized the extent of the support expressed by the shrimp industry for the continuation of the antidumping duties. The Commission found that the factual information and arguments filed by the Ad Hoc Shrimp Trade Action Committee (AHSTAC) and the Ad Hoc Shrimp Industry Committee (AHSIC) – both of which were organized by the Southern Shrimp Alliance – and, separately, by the American Shrimp Processors Association, were “adequate” both individually and as a group response.
The submission by AHSTAC and AHSIC included letters of support from 243 shrimp fishing businesses, one shrimp farm, and nine shrimp processors. The shrimp fishing companies that provided information to the Commission accounted for over 24 million pounds (headless) of shrimp landed in 2020, worth over $93 million. This works out to about 17 percent of all the warmwater shrimp harvested in the United States last year. The processor members of AHSTAC and AHSIC processed over 14 million pounds of shrimp in 2020, comprising 10 percent of the warmwater shrimp estimated to have been processed in the United States last year.
“In the spring, I traveled to fishing communities from Texas to North Carolina to ask industry members for their help in reminding the federal government how important these antidumping duty orders have been for all of us,” said John Williams, the Executive Director of the Southern Shrimp Alliance. “In response, hundreds of my fellow shrimpers put the interests of the industry as a whole above their own and took the time to compile and provide information to the Commission. Some of them made sure their neighbors filled out forms and worked to let everyone they knew understand that the sunset reviews were being conducted.”
“The Commission’s review is not over and we do not know whether the industry will ultimately be successful, but I do know that the only reason that antidumping duties have been in effect for seventeen years and may remain in place for at least another five is because of the hard work of members of this industry from across the country.”
Additional information regarding the Commission’s practices and procedures in Sunset Reviews can be found here: http://pubapps2.usitc.gov/sunset/
The Commission’s Summary Voting Sheet for the agency’s adequacy determination and determination as to whether to conduct a full or expedited administrative review may be found at this link: https://www.shrimpalliance.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/Adequacy-Vote-Third-Sunset-Review.pdf
Commerce’s June 21, 2022 letter to the Commission notifying the agency that it had received inadequate responses to Commerce’s notice of initiation of the sunset reviews and, in result, intended to issue a final determination on an expedited basis using facts available no later than 120 days after initiation (August 30th) may be found at this link: https://www.shrimpalliance.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/Commerce-50-day-Letter-Sunset-Review.pdf