US Senator Bill Cassidy pens bill to cancel out India's shrimp sector subsidies

U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy

U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy (R-Louisiana) has introduced a bill to neutralize subsidies offered by the government of India to that country's shrimp sector, a move to lessen the amount of cheap shrimp imports domestic producers must compete with.

The legislation would raise U.S. tariffs on Indian shrimp imports to be equivalent with the subsidies provided to the Indian shrimp industry.

“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.”

In addition to the SSA, the bill is supported by the Louisiana Shrimp Association, the Louisiana Shrimp Task Force, and the American Shrimp Processors Association.

“Shrimpers cannot work because Indian shrimp unfair trade practices have gone unaddressed for over ten years,” Williams said. “Now, more than ever, fishermen and their families need the support of their congressional representatives and the Southern Shrimp Alliance asks every U.S. senator in the Gulf and South Atlantic to support this legislation.”

Cassidy also introduced another bill, the Prioritizing Offensive Agricultural Disputes and Enforcement Act, to establish a joint task force on agricultural trade enforcement that would monitor Chinese industrial subsidies and make recommendations on how to address them.

“When you eat seafood gumbo, you expect the shrimp and rice to be grown in Louisiana with our health standards,” Cassidy said. “Americans’ health should not be harmed because some countries have chosen not to play by the rules. Bringing China and India into compliance will level the playing field for Louisiana shrimpers and the food they produce.”

The bills continue efforts by federal and state lawmakers to stem the flow of imported shrimp into the U.S. and prop up the struggling domestic shrimp sector.

In August, U.S. Representative Garret Graves (R-Louisiana) and U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor (D-Florida) introduced the Laws Ensuring Safe Shrimp Act, which would provide funding to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for testing and inspections of shrimp and products containing shrimp. The funding would come from duties on imported shrimp.

“From foreign shrimp dumping to skyrocketing energy costs and Hurricane Ida, Louisiana’s shrimpers have been hit by both manmade and natural disasters,” Graves said. “Shrimp packed with illegal antibiotics cannot be allowed to take over our market, and it’s unacceptable to be okay with anyone consuming a lower-quality product that puts their health at risk. This is an avoidable hardship for one of Louisiana’s biggest economic drivers and that’s why we are pushing this legislation.”

In June 2023, the U.S. International Trade Commission voted to maintain antidumping duties on frozen warmwater shrimp producers from India and other countries.

Photo courtesy of WikiMedia Commons


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