Devi, SSA cut deal to halt mislabeling
The Southern Shrimp Alliance (SSA) on Monday announced that it teamed up with the only Indian shrimp exporter exempt from U.S. tariffs, Devi Sea Foods Ltd., to develop a coding system that will prevent mislabeling of shrimp imports as a product of Devi. The new coding system went into effect on 1 March.
According to the SSA, “large” quantities of shrimp was being mislabeled as a product of Devi to avert U.S. antidumping tariffs. The SSA pointed to U.S. Customs and Border Protection data estimating that one mislabeling scheme involving transshipment of Chinese shrimp through Indonesia resulted in the evasion of more than 60 million in tariffs.
“The U.S. government has taken important steps to try and reign in rampant fraud in the seafood industry, but it cannot solve a problem this large alone,” said SSA President John Williams. “Private industry actions are necessary to rid us of this plague.
“Fraud in the shrimp market harms the U.S. government and the domestic shrimp industry, but the real victim is the American consumer,” added Williams. “Widespread fraud undermines consumer confidence in all seafood and ending it should be a high priority for everyone in the seafood industry.”
Imposed by the U.S. Department of Commerce in early 2003, the tariffs stem from an antidumping petition the SSA filed against shrimp exporters from India, Thailand, Vietnam, China, Ecuador and Brazil in late 2003.
Just last week, the U.S. International Trade Commission voted to leave tariffs on shrimp from Brazil, China, India, Thailand and Vietnam in place, determining that revoking the tariffs would result in the recurrence of dumping.