January 30, 2008


Thailand optimistic in shrimp export case against US


The Thai government believes the World Trade Organisation (WTO) will rule in Thailand's favour in its dispute with the US.


The optimistic view comes from the fact that the US has been judged for unfair practises and has lost similar cases to other exporting nations. Thailand is the third country to appeal to the WTO over the double penalty by the US. Ecuador and India have already won their cases.


Last year, Thai shrimp exports faced high import duties under the US anti-dumping measure, ranging from 5.8 percent to 6.8 percent of a shipment's value. Thai shrimp exporters also put up US$180 million for the C-bond, but the money was never returned.


This year's C-bond is estimated to cost shrimp exporters as much as US$240 million.


Thailand's global shrimp exports have decreased by 3.5 percent to US$2.15 billion last year. Its main market is the US, which accounts for 49 percent of the exports.


If the final ruling is in Thailand's favour, the US will have to revise its anti-dumping calculation immediately, and bank guarantee for Thai exports will be cancelled. Tariff rate for Thai shrimp exports will also return to 4.24 percent.


If the US is unable to comply immediately with the judgement, it will have to set up a compensation programme for Thai shrimp exports. However, the US would be able to appeal the WTO's judgement, which would delay the low tariff rate for three to six months.


The WTO will release its official ruling next month.

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