WTO: U.S. tariffs on Vietnamese shrimp illegal

A World Trade Organization panel on Monday ruled that the United States’ use of “zeroing” to impose antidumping tariffs on shrimp from Vietnam is illegal.

Zeroing is a controversial methodology used to calculate tariffs whereby imported goods that cost more than they do in their home market are ignored.

Vietnam filed the complaint in February 2010, and on Monday the WTO panel urged the United States to bring its tariff calculation methodology in line with the WTO’s Anti-Dumping Agreement and the GATT (General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade). China launched a similar complaint in February.

Several countries — including Thailand, the world’s No. 1 shrimp exporter — have won zeroing-related cases with the WTO, and in January the U.S. Department of Commerce (USDC) said it would change its methodology. But in March, the U.S. International Trade Commission voted to continue tariffs on shrimp from Vietnam, Thailand, China, India and Brazil.

Monday’s ruling comes less than two weeks after the Southern Shrimp Alliance asked the U.S. Supreme Court to take on a case challenging the USDC’s decision to rescind the use of zeroing in antidumping investigations. The eight-state group of shrimp fishermen and processors filed an antidumping petition that led to tariffs on shrimp from six Asian and South American countries in 2005. 


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