US slashes proposed duties on Santa Priscila, Ecuadorian shrimp industry

Employees working in a Santa Priscila shrimp processing plant.
The U.S. Department of Commerce has heavily reduced its original countervailing duty on multiple Ecuadorian shrimp exporters | Photo courtesy of Industrial Pesquera Santa Priscila
4 Min

The U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) has updated its preliminary determination on countervailing duties to be leveled against the Ecuadorian shrimp industry, reducing them significantly and, in some cases, removing them entirely.

The DOC announced the new countervailing duties on 26 March, affecting Ecuador, India, and Vietnam. Of the three countries, Ecuador was hit with the highest rate and was facing a 7.55 percent countervailing duty on all shrimp exports to the U.S.; Santa Priscila was given a 13.41 percent rate, while the Sociedad Nacional de Galapagos (SONGA) was penalized at a rate of 1.69 percent. 

In an update sent to Santa Priscila and the larger Ecuadorian shrimp industry, the DOC told the company it had made corrections to its calculation of the duty, Ecuador National Chamber of Aquaculture President José Antonio Camposano told SeafoodSource. 

According to Camposano, the new rate for Santa Priscila will now by 2.89 percent, as will the rate for the entire Ecuadorian shrimp industry. SONGA, meanwhile, was reduced to “de minimis” status, meaning the government subsidies it receives are too minimal to qualify for any countervailing duties.

Camposano said the new rates will be published “very soon.”

The updated rates reinforce Camposano’s earlier comments on the countervailing duties, which he said used highly biased and limited information.

“The partial information contained in American requests are inaccurate and incomplete,” Camposano said at the time.

The updated determination will have an immediate effect on Santa Priscila and the Ecuadorian shrimp industry. By law, with the publication of a preliminary determination, companies and industries hit with a countervailing duty must start putting aside cash deposits equal to the rates determined by the DOC. When the preliminary determination was published to the federal register on 1 April, Santa Priscila, SONGA, and the Ecuadorian shrimp industry were all required to start paying the duties.

The news comes as the DOC is still actively investigating whether to add antidumping duties to Santa Priscila on top of the countervailing duties. Antidumping duties are applied by the U.S. to foreign companies that are found to be selling products to the U.S. at a cost lower than what it would sell the same product domestically.

Recent documentation submitted to the U.S. International Trade Administration’s ACCESS portal indicates the DOC has granted the company extended deadlines for some questionnaires related to the amount of shrimp it sells domestically.

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