October 23, 2003
Indian Seafood Exporters See Anti-Dumping Duties on India Shrimp Exports to US a Tough Battle
The Seafood Exporters Association of India (SEAI) feels that the battle over anti-dumping duties on Indian shrimp exports to US is likely to be a taxing one with the petitioners in the US having hired a prominent attorney firm.
The Southern Shrimp Alliance (SSA) and the Louisana Shrimp Alliance (LSA) have hired the Washington DC-based Dewey Ballantine. SEAI officials fear that "with Dewey Ballantine representing the US shrimp trawlers, the fight against anti-dumping is expected to be a long and hard battle."
To counter this threat, a 3-member delegation from SEAI visited Washington DC and decided to appoint Garvey Schubert and Barer to be the counsel in the US for the anti-dumping suit. The Association has signed an agreement with the law firm with this intent. "Ms Lizbeth Levinson, a partner in the firm will personally and exclusively handle our case," a letter sent to SEAI members has said.
To fight the case, total expenditure is estimated to be around $1.5 million (Rs 7.5 crore), sources in SEAI said. If anti-dumping and countervailing duties are imposed on Indian shrimp imports to the US, it will have a disastrous impact on the $1.3 billion Indian seafood export industry. The other countries targeted for this trade action are Thailand, China, Vietnam, Ecuador, Mexico, Brazil, Honduras, Indonesia and Venezuela.
Earlier, there was a threat that the petitioners would file their case before the US Department of Commerce (DoC) and the International Trade Commission (ITC) before October 15, which has now been shifted to December 15.
Regarding the potency of the threat, SEAI pointed out that in July 2003, the US imposed anti-dumping duty ranging from 44 - 63% on Vietnam's fish fillet imports, which will remain in force for five years. There will be yearly evaluation to see if the duties should be increased or decreased.
Any such move would be disastrous influence on Indian shrimp exports to US, the Association warned.
Within 20 days of filing the case, the US could start imposing the anti-dumping duties, which will be returned only in case the Indian exporters win the case, sources in SEAI said. This additional duty will have to be borne by the US importers and hence future orders and commitments from that country could trickle down.
The Management Committee of SEAI has decided that it will defend the industry's position, meet the cost of the legal process and not leave the cost to individual Indian companies that might be investigated.
Of the total cost of Rs 7 crore, SEAI said it will mobilise Rs 4 crore internally and the remaining Rs three crore would be collected from its members, depending on their volume and value of individual company's exports to the US market.