U.S. Shrimp Imports Still Down Through May

Through the first five months of 2008, U.S. shrimp imports were down 0.7 percent, to 430.5 million pounds, compared to the same five-month period last year, according to figures the National Marine Fisheries Service released on Friday.

It's a slight improvement from the first four months of 2008, when U.S. shrimp imports were down 1.7 percent, to 351.1 million pounds.

Shrimp imports from the United States' top two shrimp suppliers last year, Thailand and Ecuador, are off this year. Through May, imports from Thailand were down 5.9 percent, to 126 million pounds, while imports from Ecuador were down 9.6 percent, to 56.2 million pounds.

Indonesia is picking up the slack, positioning itself as the United States' No. 2 shrimp supplier. Last year, Indonesia was the country's No. 4 shrimp supplier. Through May, imports from Indonesia were up an astounding 69.9 percent, to 79.1 million pounds. Unlike Thailand and Ecuador, Indonesia is not subject to U.S. antidumping tariffs.

Next in line is China, which watched its shrimp exports to the United States drop 22.2 percent, to 42.7 million pounds through May.

However, shrimp imports from Vietnam and Malaysia are up considerably. Through May, imports from Vietnam reached 27.6 million pounds, up 27.4 percent from last year, while imports from Malaysia totaled 20.3 million pounds, up an impressive 40.9 percent.

Rounding out the top seven is Mexico, which saw its shrimp exports to the United States fall 31.2 percent, to 17 million pounds through May.

About 90 percent of the U.S. shrimp supply is imported.

U.S. shrimp imports for the first half of 2008 are due to be released Aug. 12.


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