American Shrimp Processors Association push for duties on imported shrimp from four countries
The American Shrimp Processors Association (ASPA), an organization representing the interests of U.S. wild-caught warmwater shrimp processing, has filed trade petitions seeking additional antidumping and countervailing duties on imported shrimp.
The trade petitions, which the ASPA said are intended to address unfair dumping and illegal subsidies, consist of a request for antidumping duties on imported frozen warmwater shrimp from Ecuador and Indonesia, and countervailing duties on imported shrimp from Ecuador, India, Indonesia, and Vietnam.
The U.S International Trade Commission (USITC) recently decided to maintain antidumping duties on shrimp from India, China, Thailand, and Vietnam in its latest five-year review – a move celebrated by the ASPA. However, the association said that imports of shrimp have continued to have a heavy impact on the U.S.’s domestic shrimp industry.
“The U.S. shrimp market has been overwhelmed by massive quantities of underpriced shrimp imports, resulting in unsustainably low dockside prices, falling domestic market share, significantly lower profit margins, and historically high inventory levels,” the ASPA said in a release.
U.S. domestic shrimp prices have stayed near historic low levels in 2023, as many states saw a slight increase in catches as imports ticked up.
The four countries being targeted by the ASPA are typically the top four suppliers of shrimp in the U.S., and according to the ASPA accounted for 90 percent of all imported frozen warmwater shrimp in 2022. The ASPA claimed that dumping margins for some of the countries should be high – it estimated margins for Ecuador should be “as high as 111 percent.”
The association also claimed that dozens of government subsidy programs are helping shrimp farmers and processors in Ecuador, India, Indonesia, and Vietnam keep costs down, allowing them to keep prices at a low-level that domestic U.S. shrimp producers can’t compete with.
"We are truly proud to file these cases on behalf of shrimp boats and shrimp processors," ASPA President Trey Pearson said in a release. "The overwhelming outpouring of support from the entire shrimp industry demonstrates how important trade relief is to everyone. Our petitions include nearly 800 shrimp harvesters representing over half of all domestic landings. ASPA is especially thankful to the many individuals and organizations whose hard work and commitment allowed ASPA to file these cases with the full support of the entire shrimp industry."
The ASPA is not the only organization seeking action on the perceived trade imbalance between foreign shrimp imports and domestic production. Earlier this month U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy (R-Louisiana) introduced a bill to neutralize subsidies offered by the government of India to reduce the number of cheap shrimp imports.
The move was supported by the Southern Shrimp Alliance, which represents shrimp harvesters in southern U.S. states.
“Forty percent of imported shrimp in this market comes from India,” Southern Shrimp Alliance (SSA) Executive Director John Williams said in support of the bill. “India isn’t the dominant supplier because it is better at farming shrimp than the rest of the world. Rampant use of banned antibiotics in their aquaculture, tolerance for forced labor practices in their peeling sheds, and substantial export subsidies awarded by the Indian government are killing this market.”
The trade counsel to the ASPA, Elizabeth Drake, and Eddy Hayes, said the petitions made by the association are necessary to counter the unfair trade practices.
“If successful, antidumping and countervailing duty orders will result in tariffs that offset the dumping and subsidies undertaken by foreign companies and foreign governments,” they said. “This should bring a measure of market correction and badly needed relief to the entire domestic shrimp industry."
Photo courtesy of the American Shrimp Processors Association/Dominick's Seafood