Washington, DC – The Consuming Industries Trade Action Coalition (CITAC), a coalition of importers and trade associations that aims to weaken U.S. trade laws, announced its opposition to the shrimp antidumping cases before the Department of Commerce and the International Trade Commission. Eddie Gordon, President of the Southern Shrimp Alliance issued the following statement:
It is disappointing, but not surprising, to learn that CITAC is supporting ASDA in an effort to undermine the enforcement of U.S. trade laws at the expense of tens of thousands of U.S. jobs in the shrimp industry. The consuming industries make huge profits off of dumped shrimp imports, rather than passing the savings onto consumers. Consumer prices for shrimp entrees at major restaurant chains increased up to 28 percent between 2000 and 2003, despite wholesale prices plummeting to levels last seen in the 1960s.*
It is hypocritical for restaurants and retailers to claim that fair trade would be the cause of increasing consumer prices for shrimp, when the glut of low priced shrimp has not made shrimp more affordable for the average American.
Enforcing U.S. trade laws will not prevent imports. It is unreasonable conclude that retail jobs, which are not tied directly to the price of shrimp, would be lost if there is fair trade. On the other hand, thousand of jobs have already been lost due to dumped shrimp imports and tens of thousands of remaining fishermen, shrimp farmers, and shrimp processors need fair trade to survive. The loss of the shrimp industry would have a devastating effect on the economies of states from North Carolina to Texas. Businesses in shrimping communities depend on the industry to patron their stores and services. Governments depend on shrimping revenues to provide essential services, like education.
The U.S. shrimp industry is not seeking a government handout. We are asking that the Department of Commerce and the International Trade Commission determine whether or not the rules of trade have been violated and the U.S. shrimp industry has been harmed. The U.S. antidumping laws are consistent with international trade agreements and similar to the laws of our trading partners, including Brazil, India and China. The laws provide due process and require a high burden of proof. Antidumping findings and methodologies are subject to federal court appeal and review by international tribunals, preventing manipulation and bias. If dumping is found in the shrimp case, the U.S. laws must be enforced.
*The Associated Press (3/11/04), the Wall Street Journal (10/16/03), and other notable papers have reported that while the average wholesale price of frozen shrimp fell, consumer prices at major chain restaurants actually increased, proving that dumped imports did not make shrimp more affordable. Consumer prices seldom decreased for any type of shrimp item between 2000 and 2003 despite the abundance of cheap imports. According to a report from Food Beat Inc., which tracks menu prices, shrimp entrees at Landry’s Seafood House went from $10.99 to $14.02; a Red Lobster shrimp salad jumped from $8.99 to $10.13 last year. The average shrimp prices in grocery stores have remained constant, with occasional specials, while wholesale shrimp prices have dropped to 1960s levels.