SSA takes ‘zeroing’ to U.S. Supreme Court

An eight-state group of shrimp fishermen and processors are asking the U.S. Supreme Court to take on a case challenging the U.S. Department of Commerce’s decision to abandon the practice “zeroing” in antidumping investigations.

The Southern Shrimp Alliance (SSA) — the group responsible for filing the antidumping petition that in 2005 lead to tariffs on shrimp from six Asian and South America countries, including Thailand, India and China — announced on Monday that it filed a brief with the Supreme Court in an attempt to reinstate zeroing. The Coalition for Fair Lumber Imports submitted the brief along with the SSA.

Zeroing is a methodology used to calculate tariffs whereby imported goods that cost more than they do in their home market are ignored. The World Trade Organization has ruled that zeroing is illegal after several countries, including Thailand, India and China, have challenged the controversial practice. The WTO’s ruling forced the Department of Commerce to eliminate practice.

But the SSA argued that abandoning zeroing “permits exporters to dump merchandise into the U.S. market so long as the exporters make some sales at higher prices, inviting exporters to manipulate some sales to mask dumping with respect to other.” The group pointed out that U.S. steel manufacturers are now asking the Supreme Court to review two decisions (United States Steel Corp. v. United States and Nucor Corp. v. United States).

The SSA added that abandoning zeroing has had “a major impact” on the U.S. shrimp industry, resulting in the elimination of tariffs on shrimp from Ecuador and the exemption of two of Thailand’s largest shrimp exporters, and shrimp exporters in Vietnam and China are also seeking to be excluded from tariffs. 


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