November 14, 2003

 

 

India Rejects US Allegation of Dumping Low-Cost Seafood
 

Today, India's shrimp traders rejected allegations by American shrimpers that the Indians have been dumping low-cost seafood, but acknowledged that exports have plunged because of tighter U.S. and European quality regulations.

 

"The biggest threat to Indian seafood exports is from America. The U.S. is now seeking an antidumping probe against shrimp imports from 16 countries, including India and China. That has affected our exports," Abraham Tharakan, president of the Seafood Association of India, told The Associated Press.

 

"We feel that the allegations of dumping by the U.S. are baseless. We export only quality products," Thakaran said.

 

The association said Thursday that seafood exports from India in the last six months stood at 136,074 metric tons compared with the 173,167 metric tons during the same period last year.

 

An eight-state group in the United States called the Southern Shrimp Alliance, led by Louisiana, is demanding punitive antidumping duties ranging from 40% to 200% on shrimp imports from India and other nations.

 

American shrimpers say that they are being driven out of business by cheap imports as dockside prices for domestic shrimp plummet.

 

They are targeting the main shrimp exporters to the United States: China, India, Thailand, Ecuador, Vietnam, Brazil and Mexico.

 

Last year, India exported shrimp worth US$360 million globally.

 

Tharakan said Indian exporters have asked the Indian government to counter the Southern Shrimp Alliance's campaign, and are planning to hire a U.S. law firm to present their case before the U.S. government.

 

Meanwhile, some European countries have rejected Indian seafood shipments, saying that they contained antibiotic residues and traces of heavy metal, especially in fish and fish products.

 

In October, a team of seafood importers from the European Union visited processing units in Cochin, Madras and Bombay.

 

According to new European regulations, any container of seafood found testing positive for chloramphenicol, a banned drug residue, would be destroyed completely. That could mean big losses for Indian exporters, since each container is valued at around 10 million rupees

 

($1=INR45.730)