July 12, 2005

Thailand petitions to reduce shrimp tariffs


To help Thai shrimp farmers affected by the Asian tsunami, Thailand has asked US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to support its petition to reduce US import taxes on Thai shrimp.


Thailand's Foreign Affairs Minister Kantathi Suphamongkhon said on Jun 11 that it hopes the country will get fair tariffs to keep its shrimp exporters competitive.


Thailand is the largest exporter of shrimp to the US and is currently seeking to revive its industries and exports, after refusing direct foreign financial assistance after the Dec 26 tsunami. The damage to Thailand's and India's aquaculture industry is more than US$40 million, the UN estimated.


On Apr 25, the International Trade Commission said that it would review taxes on Thai and Indian shrimp imports in view of the tsunami. The final decision is expected about three months from the start of the review.


In January, the US slapped average duties of 17 percent on US$2.7 billion worth of shrimp from China, Brazil, Ecuador, India, Thailand and Vietnam, as US competitors said they were affected by the dumping acts from these countries.


Thai shrimp exporters sell US$1 billion worth of shrimp a year to the US, and face an average import duty of 6 percent currently.

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