June 29, 2007


Thailand urged to speed up WTO proceedings against US shrimp duties



Thai shrimp exporters are urging authorities to speed up the process to take the US to WTO court after Ecuador's success.


Ecuardor successfully challenged the US duties on its shrimp in February this year in a WTO court. 


Thai authorities have been urged to speed up filing complaints with the WTO separately for each allegation said Poj Aramwattanont, the president of the Thai Frozen Foods Association.


Single-allegation petitions would shorten the investigation process and could encourage the US to enter negotiations with Thailand, he added.


Poj also warned that Thai shrimp exports could be hit harder after the US, under WTO orders, would be forced to lift tariffs on Ecuador's shrimp later this year.


Thailand filed a complaint with the WTO over the US anti-dumping measures in March last year, one against the zeroing practice and the other against the requirement for a continuous bond (C-bond).


Thailand said the measures were unfair and were unnecessarily complicated and cumbersome.


Thai shrimp exporters also face a 100 percent bank-guarantee payment in the US known as a continuous bond, which adds to their costs and reduces financial liquidity.


Surapol Pratuangtum, president of the Thai Marine Shrimp Farmers Association, said exporters were forced by tight liquidity to push down the prices of Thai shrimp this year. The effect on local shrimp farmers was prices which had fallen below production costs. 


Still, Thailand's shrimp exports rose 4.4 percent for the first four months of the year, compared to the same period last year.

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