Indian shrimp exporters to fight US anti-dumping suit
Indian seafood exporters have raised money and hired an American lawyer to fight an antidumping suit filed against shrimp imports from countries like India.india Updated: Jan 07, 2004 15:19 IST
Indian seafood exporters have raised money and hired an American lawyer to fight an antidumping suit filed against shrimp imports from countries like India.
A ruling on the antidumping petition filed by the US Southern Shrimp Alliance is expected by mid-February, according to official sources.
India and Vietnam, directly hit by the antidumping lawsuit, have decided to fight the case with Indian seafood exporters raising money and hiring lawyer Garvey Schubert Barer to argue on their behalf.
The legal battle will cost nearly $1.5 million, according to the Seafood Exporters Association of India.
The second largest shrimp buyer from India after Japan is the US, which account for nearly a quarter of Indian shrimp exporters' $1 billion-plus earnings from shrimp exports.
India mainly exports tiger shrimps, which are not found in the US. So it has a strong case. However, imposition of antidumping duties are likely to more than double the price of Indian shrimp in US markets, affecting the exports.
Vietnam denied selling shrimp in the US at illegally low prices and said charges of anti-dumping were unfair as American shrimp producers are uncompetitive.
The lawsuit "takes advantage of the increasingly protectionist trade policy of the US government", the Vietnam Seafood Association's shrimp committee said.
"The aim is to save the US shrimp industry from bankruptcy due to low technology, high costs and weak competitiveness," said a committee statement.
The Southern Shrimp Alliance, an American trade group, filed the anti-dumping petition on December 31 with the US Commerce Department and the US International Trade Commission against Thailand, China, Vietnam, India, Brazil and Ecuador.
The Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers also retained a law firm to fight the suit. Vietnam was the second-largest shrimp supplier in the US, with exports worth $467.3 million in 2002.
The Southern Shrimp Alliance is made up of shrimp sellers and processors from eight US states, including North Carolina. The alliance says the dumping of farm-raised shrimp by these countries has resulted in job losses and raised health and safety concerns about the products.
The alliance claimed that the value of the US shrimp harvest dropped by more than half between 2000 and 2002 - from $1.25 billion to $560 million - resulting in a 40 per cent unemployment at shrimp factories in the southern US.
The alliance has found a supporter for its cause, Senator Trent Lott. Lott, a Republican from Mississippi, said in a statement that the government must "take bold steps to ensure that free trade is fair trade".
Lott said he expected the Bush administration to take the complaint seriously as dumping of shrimp from these countries has caused job losses and raised health and safety concerns about the product being imported.