Pact reached to rescind shrimp tariffs

The Southern Shrimp Alliance (SSA) on Monday announced that it reached an agreement with Thai shrimp exporters to rescind U.S. antidumping tariffs on Thai shrimp. In exchange, Thai shrimp exporters will fund an endowment to help the U.S. shrimp industry compete with imported product.

Together, the SSA, which represents shrimp fishermen and processors in eight Southern states, and Thai shrimp exporters will ask the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) to initiate a “changed circumstances review” so the agency can determine whether the revoking the tariffs is justified.

The antidumping petition the SSA filed against shrimp exporters in six Asian and South American countries in late 2003 resulted in the tariffs the DOC imposed in early 2005.

The SSA said the changed circumstances review would not include the five other countries subject to tariffs — China, Vietnam, India, Ecuador and Brazil.

Thailand is by far the United States’ No. 1 shrimp supplier, exporting more than 400 million pounds to the country last year, representing nearly one-third of total U.S. shrimp imports.

U.S. tariffs on shrimp imports have been the subject of much debate within the World Trade organization and a U.S. Court of International Trade over the past four years.

In August, a CIT judge ordered U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to reconsider its enhanced bonding requirement (EBR), ruling that the measure “arbitrarily and capriciously” targeted U.S. shrimp importers.

In February, a WTO panel ruled that the EBR violates international trade law, after Thai and Indian shrimp exporters filed a complaint.

And last year, a WTO panel ruled that the U.S. practice of “zeroing” is illegal, agreeing with Thai shrimp exporters that the DOC artificially inflated tariffs using the controversial methodology.

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