February 19, 2004



US Anti-Dumping Ruling May Hurt China Shrimp Industry


Chinese shrimpers could possibly face anti-dumping tariffs after the US International Trade Commission (ITC) ruled on Tuesday that shrimp imports from China and five other countries threaten the US industry.


The six-member body voted unanimously for a finding against shrimp and prawns from Brazil, China, Ecuador, India, Thailand and Viet Nam.


Fang Guofeng, president of Zhoushan Xifeng Aquatic Products Co Ltd, said the Chinese Government gives no subsidies to its shrimping industry.


"If we sell at below-cost prices or prices lower than in the domestic market, we cannot afford it."


Chinese shrimp farmers from Guangdong, Guangxi, Fujian and Zhejiang have given notice to the ITC, via their US lawyers, that they will respond to the case.


Shrimp exports are a major source of income for fishermen in coastal areas who will be hit badly if the anti-dumping tariffs is imposed.


Zhang Zhibiao, deputy secretary-general of the China Chamber of Commerce of Import and Export of Foodstuffs, Native Produce and Animal By-Products (CFNA), said it was impossible for the ITC to stop the lawsuit by US shrimpers, who had planned their legal petition for two years and spent several hundred million dollars on it.


A negative ITC determination would have ended the case in the first phase.


The ITC said there was a "reasonable indication" that the imports, allegedly being dumped in the United States at unfair prices, harm or threaten the local industry.


That means the US Department of Commerce will make a preliminary finding on import tariffs or quotas by about June 8, the ITC said.


The US Southern Shrimp Alliance filed a suit on December 31 last year, looking for tariffs of up to 349 per cent on shrimp from Brazil, 264 per cent from China, 166 per cent from Ecuador, 110 per cent from India, 58 per cent from Thailand and 93 per cent from Viet Nam.


The six countries targeted in the case reject any blame for US job losses and argue the proposed anti-dumping duties would penalize them for simply being cheaper producers, Zhang said.


Statistics provided by the CFNA estimated that China exported US$800 million worth of shrimp in 2003, half of which was exported to the United States.

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