March 27, 2019 


Indian shrimp refused by EU diverted to US?


Are massive quantities of potentially harmful Indian shrimp exports rejected by the EU's strict phytosanitary controls being diverted to the US market?


Senator Bill Cassidy (Republican-Louisiana) at a recent hearing before the Senate finance committee pointed out in his questions to US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer the harm allegedly caused by a flood of Indian shrimp imports, the Southern Shrimp Alliance (SSA) reports.


In response, Lighthizer said the domestic industry could seek the imposition of countervailing duty orders to address the government of India's significant subsidisation of its shrimp industry. "Generally in a situation like this you're better off bringing litigation", he added.


Cassidy asked Lighthizer to take steps through a Section 301 proceeding or through the review of India's eligibility for benefits under the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) programme.


Last year, the volume of India's frozen, non-breaded warmwater shrimp exports to the US increased by another 16% over the previous year, with India now accounting for 39% of total shrimp import volume into the country.


Remarkable growth


The SSA noted: "The continued remarkable growth of Indian shrimp imports in the US market has occurred simultaneous to substantial actions taken by the European Union to prevent contaminated Indian shrimp from reaching European consumers".


As the SSA previously documented, the EU has placed limits on the shrimp farms and shrimp processors that can export shrimp to Europe and has further required that all shrimp sent to Europe be tested for banned antibiotics prior to shipment. In addition to these controls, the EU has mandated the testing of half of all shrimp shipments imported into the 28-member bloc and recently called on member countries to expand the scope of their testing.


Data showed that Indian shrimp exports to the US and Vietnam exploded between 2014 and 2017, while exports to all other markets have remained relatively stable.


In 2014, the US imported 26% more shrimp from India than the EU. By 2017, the US was importing 154% more shrimp from India than the EU. Over that timeframe, the volume of India's shrimp exports to the EU increased by 5%, while that to the US increased by a whopping 111%.


The table below shows India's shrimp exports to the US and Vietnam (which, in turn, packages Indian shrimp for export to the US) versus India's shrimp exports to the rest of the world as reported by UN ComTrade for the four-year period 2014 to 2017 (2018 data not yet available).