Tarpon Springs, FL—Commissioners at the International Trade Commission (“ITC”) voted 5 – 1 this morning to continue existing antidumping duty orders on frozen warmwater shrimp from Brazil, China, India, Thailand, and Vietnam. The trade relief has been in place since 2005 in order to offset the unfairly low prices of shrimp imports from those countries.
The Southern Shrimp Alliance (“SSA”), through the Ad Hoc Shrimp Trade Action Committee, brought the original petitions for relief in 2003. Since that time, SSA has vigorously defended the orders in the administrative review process and in a changed circumstances review on imports from India and Thailand, and has worked with various government agencies to strengthen enforcement of the orders. SSA continued its defense of the orders during the ITC’s recent sunset review.
“In the years leading up to the original investigation in 2004, the U.S. market was flooded with ever-increasing amounts of extremely low-priced shrimp from the subject countries,” said John Williams, Executive Director of SSA. “This dumping resulted in plummeting prices for shrimp fishermen and others in the domestic industry. It forced a number of people out of the industry and made those who remained much less profitable. The domestic shrimp industry was on the brink of collapse, and may have been decimated if the government had not imposed the antidumping duty orders in 2004.”
The antidumping duty orders have stabilized the U.S. shrimp market – prices leveled off, as did the domestic industry’s market share. This market share took a hit in 2011 after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and resulting closure of fishing grounds, but with the continuance of the orders, domestic producers are poised to regain that market share in 2012.
“Last year’s oil spill was just the latest obstacle for the shrimp industry,” said Williams. “We’ve dealt with hurricanes, escalating fuel costs – a lot of things that are out of our control. But battling unfair trade practices is something we can do to try to make a difference for shrimp fishermen. We were able to achieve this victory with the support of our shrimp state Senators and Representatives on Capitol Hill. Our industry still has a lot of work to do to ensure that it can remain competitive, but at least this should give us the opportunity we deserve to compete on a level playing field. We will continue to work with our Members of Congress to try to improve the lives of the hardworking men and women in our industry.”
In deciding to continue the antidumping duty orders, the ITC agreed that revocation of the orders would likely lead to the continuation or recurrence of material injury to the domestic industry in a reasonably foreseeable time. U.S. law requires a review of trade protection measures every five years. The orders will now remain in place through at least February 1, 2015, when a second sunset review would begin.
SSA is an alliance of the U.S. warmwater wild shrimp fishery from eight states: North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas.