February 20, 2004



Indian Shrimp Exporters Divided On US Anti-Dumping Ruling


Indian shrimp exporters hold differing views on the anti-dumping ruling imposed by the US International Trade Commission (USITC).


The main trade body, Seafood Exporters' Association of India, believes that exports from India for the next three months will come to a grinding halt as buyers in the US are uncertain about the possible anti-dumping duty levied on imports into the country and its consequent effect on prices.


However, large exporters believe exports will continue and say the trade association is crying wolf.


"We have already educated our farmers and dispelled any fear of a possible duty on exports from India. Farming has started and will go into full swing by the end of February 2004. Hatcheries have also commenced operations. The fear of a possible anti-dumping duty will have no effect on exports from India," Ashok Nanjapa, chief executive, The Waterbase Ltd, said.


A leading exporter of shrimps in Andhra Pradesh, Ragunath Reddy, said: "More than 90 per cent of the shrimps exported from India are produced in the state. I can confidently say that we are unfazed by the recent decision of USITC. Exports from India will not be affected in the next three-four months, while we wait for the final verdict."


Nanjapa added that propagating false notions about trade coming to halt will only harm individual companies.


"It is untrue that trade will come to a halt. Any such misplaced notions will only worry our bankers and put us all into a lot of trouble," he said. He also said this was the fag end of the season and the fall in exports was purely seasonal and had nothing to do with the fear of anti-dumping duties being imposed.


Abraham J Thakaran, president, Seafood Exporters Association of India, however, said shipments have stopped since February 9 this year. "Buyers in the US will probably source from countries that have not been named in the anti-dumping suit.


It is also quite possible that these six countries - India, Brazil, China, Ecuador, Thailand and Vietnam - will look at markets outside the US, for exports. Japan is a strong market for shrimps," he said.


K Jose Cyriac, chairman, Marine Products Export Development Authority, ministry of commerce, said: "Export of shrimps in the first nine months of this financial year has already slipped by a marginal 3-4 per cent against last year's exports. This could be partly attributed to the fear of a possible anti-dumping duty."


Cyriac, however, said the general mood in the industry is not of any fear of duty and that exporters are fully aware of the possible outcome and are ready to face the situation.


In 2002-03, total shrimp exports stood at $950 million, of which an estimated $400 million was shipped to the US.

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