Last week, the U.S. Department of Commerce announced that three Chinese shrimp exporters – the Allied Pacific Group; Yelin Enterprise Co. Hong Kong; and Shantou Red Garden Foodstuff Co., Ltd. – were exempted from antidumping duties effective March 22, 2013. The exemption is the result of an appeal made to the World Trade Organization (WTO) by the government of the People’s Republic of China. The three Chinese exporters had won significant reductions in Commerce’s original calculations of dumping margins through appeals filed with a federal court before the Chinese government sought review from the WTO.
The significant reduction in the scope of the trade relief granted to the domestic shrimp industry follows similar WTO appeals that have resulted in the elimination of antidumping duties on shrimp imports from Ecuador and the exclusion of two major Thai shrimp exporters from the antidumping duty order on Thai shrimp. These WTO challenges have focused on the methodology used by Commerce to calculate the amount of dumping occurring in the marketplace. Many domestic industries vulnerable to unfair trade have seen vital relief eliminated by WTO rulings. In fact, the Federal Register notice published announcing the exclusion of the three Chinese shrimp exporters also announced Commerce’s intention to exempt a Chinese exporter of diamond sawblades from antidumping duties imposed on that product.
Separately, Commerce informed the Court of International Trade yesterday that it had revisited its determination regarding the appropriate duty rate applied to imported Chinese shrimp. Finding that its original determination was based on multiple misrepresentations made by Hilltop International and its related importer, the Ocean Duke Corporation, Commerce announced its intention to apply an assessment rate of 112.81% on entries of shrimp exported by Hilltop International to the U.S. market between February 2009 and January 2010.
Commerce’s actions are the latest in the agency’s response to information regarding the Ocean Duke Corporation’s importing activities. The Ad Hoc Shrimp Trade Action Committee (AHSTAC) made Commerce aware of the factual record developed in a criminal prosecution regarding mislabeled fish fillets. The evidence in that unrelated criminal case demonstrated that inaccurate information had been provided to Commerce by Ocean Duke and its foreign exporter affiliates in antidumping duty proceedings conducted by the agency. In response to this evidence – particularly information regarding an undisclosed affiliate that had exported substantial quantities of shrimp from Cambodia after the imposition of antidumping duties – Ocean Duke and Hilltop International made representations that Commerce later proved to be inaccurate.
The final assessment of antidumping duties on imports of shrimp from Hilltop International between February 2008 and January 2010 had been delayed by challenges filed by AHSTAC in federal court. Because the assessment of duties has not yet occurred on these imports, Commerce has sought permission from the federal courts to re-evaluate prior determinations and address any fraud that may have taken place during the course of past administrative reviews.
Read the March 28, 2013 Federal Register Notice announcing that three Chinese exporters will now be exempt from antidumping duties: http://www.shrimpalliance.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/PRC-Shrimp-WTO-129-Final-Determination-Fed-Reg-Notice.pdf
Read the U.S. Department of Commerce’s final remand determination filed with the U.S. Court of International Trade regarding imports of Chinese shrimp from Hilltop International between February 2009 and January 2010: