Thai Shrimp Exporters Address Transshipping to U.S. Market
Thai shrimp exporters stated in an interview last week that their businesses are hurting because of illegal exports to the U.S. market. They suspect some exporters are rerouting shrimp shipments to another country before they reach the United States to avoid tariffs, a unlawful practice called transshipping.
The tariffs, which were slapped on shrimp from six Latin American and Asian countries in early 2005, stem from an antidumping petition brought by the Southern Shrimp Alliance, an eight-state group of fishermen and processors from the Carolinas to Texas, in late 2003.
Thai exporters noted that Cambodia, which exported 5,330 tons of shrimp to the U.S. market in 2004, exported less than 1 ton in 2003. Malaysia exported 14,180 tons of shrimp to the U.S. market in 2004, an increase from 2,205 tons in 2003. Indonesia also showed the same pattern, with 56,978 tons of shrimp exported to the U.S. market in 2004, a 45 percent increase over 2003.
The Better Seafood Bureau, an independent body of the National Fisheries Institute that establishes accountability for unlawful business practices, lists transshipping as an infraction that NFI members can be reported for.
Thai exporters suggested that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration impose rigorous inspections using advanced technology, including DNA tests, to determine the country of origin of imported shrimp.
Anwar Haseem, responding to the Thai exporters' statement on behalf of the Seafood Exporters Association of India, supports DNA testing of product. Hasheem believes India, with its place in the global in the seafood industry, would benefit from thorough inspections.
Maintaining strict control over the origins of imported seafood is in line with the FDA's mission to guarantee the safety of imported seafood, added Haseem.
During the 1990s, India made adjustments to its entire seafood industry to comply with European Union standards and regulations. At the time, India made a large investment to upgrade its seafood processing plants.