U.S. shrimp processors group supports new trade bill


James Wright, Senior Editor

Published on
December 19, 2014

A U.S. shrimp processors association has voiced its support for a newly introduced bill intended to reform trade regulations that it says could save its members’ businesses.

The American Shrimp Processors Association (ASPA) said the Leveling the Playing Field Act in the U.S. Senate, introduced by Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and supported by the Committee to Support U.S. Trade Laws, will protect the industry from what it calls “unfairly traded shrimp from overseas.”

“The Leveling the Playing Field Act will ensure that American companies have the resources necessary to combat unfair foreign trade practices,” said Dr. David Veal, director of ASPA, based in Biloxi, Miss. “Dumped and subsidized shrimp imports have seized market share, driven down prices and repeatedly thrown our industry into crisis.”

ASPA contends that imported shrimp is priced far below normal value, often below cost of production, which creates an unfair marketplace for the U.S. shrimp industry’s family-owned processors, boats and docks.

Sen. Brown said the bill will “restore strength to antidumping and countervailing duty laws — cracking down on unfair foreign competition.”

The Leveling the Playing Field Act would:
    •    Maintain the Department of Commerce’s (DOC) discretion to use adverse facts available when a mandatory respondent does not cooperate with an investigation and clarifies that the agency is not obligated to determine what a margin would be if the respondent had participated;
    •    Increase the number of factors and the length of time the International Trade Commission should use to evaluate injury or the threat of injury to U.S. producers to ensure a determination is based on a comprehensive assessment of a sector’s situation;
    •    Close the “new shipper” loophole used by companies to circumvent antidumping and countervailing duties;
    •    Increase penalties for failure to provide a country of origin certificate for merchandise covered under antidumping and countervailing duty orders or for falsifying the information on the certificate;
    •    Clarifiy that DOC has the authority to determine whether to include voluntary respondents in an investigation;
    •    Clarify that DOC does not have to conduct an additional investigation to prove that disregarded product values used in non-market economy investigations are subsidized or dumped if the record already shows the product values to be distorted; and
    •    Clarify existing statutory provisions used to assess whether a country’s non-market economy status should be maintained.

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