February 16, 2004



Indian Shrimp Exports Cut Down By US Anti-Dumping Lawsuit


The anti-dumping shrimp lawsuit filed by the US Southern Shrimp Alliance will adversely affect India's shrimp exports, the country's seafood exporters said Sunday.


India's Seafood Exporters Association said since the U.S. shrimpers filed a petition with the U.S. International Trade Commission on Dec. 31, seafood importers in the U.S. have been reluctant to buy seafood products shipped from India.


"We are waiting for the hearing that begins on Feb. 17 on the issue of whether material damage had been caused on account of dumping," said Abraham Tharakan, the association's president.


The Southern Shrimp Alliance is made up of shrimpers and processors from North Carolina and seven other states. The group filed its antidumping petition on Dec. 31 with the U.S. Department of Commerce and the International Trade Commission against Thailand, China, Vietnam, India, Brazil and Ecuador.


The petition alleged that shrimp imported from the six countries has slashed the value of U.S.-harvested shrimp by more than half between 2000 and 2002 - from $1.25 billion to $560 million. The alliance also claims that employment has dropped by 40 percent.


Indian seafood exporters responded with a petition before the ITC on Jan. 26, arguing that Indian varieties were different from the shrimp produced in the United States and posed no harm to American shrimp farmers.


The Indian trade group has hired the U.S. law firm Garvey Schubert Barer to fight the antidumping allegations and estimates that the legal battle will cost them nearly $1.5 million, Tharakan said.


Tharakan said if the ITC does not find any evidence of dumping, then the U.S. Department of Commerce would take up the antidumping case in June.


But the antidumping charges would adversely affect Indian seafood exports to the U.S. because a final verdict on the case will be delivered only by the end of this year, he said.


"The ongoing case 'til the end of this year could be damaging for our exports," he said.


A similar antidumping case was initiated against Indian leather goods in South Africa two years ago and although the case was ultimately determined in India's favor, the South African market was lost following a temporary ban on Indian leather products, Tharakan said.


The United States is India's second-largest shrimp buyer after Japan. Nearly a quarter of India's shrimp exporters' more than $1 billion earnings come from American imports.

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