American Shrimp Processors Association — Trade petitions address unfair dumping, illegal subsidies

Published 12:06 am Thursday, October 26, 2023

The American Shrimp Processors Association filed trade petitions seeking antidumping duties on imported frozen warmwater shrimp from Ecuador and Indonesia and countervailing duties on imported shrimp from Ecuador, India, Indonesia and Vietnam.

The U.S. shrimp market has been overwhelmed by massive quantities of underpriced shrimp imports, resulting in unsustainably low dockside prices, falling domestic market share, significantly lower profit margins and historically high inventory levels.

Imports from the four countries were valued at over $6.6 billion in 2022, accounting for over 90 percent of all imported frozen warmwater shrimp that year.

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ASPA estimates dumping margins for Ecuador ranging as high as 111 percent and dumping margins for Indonesia ranging as high as 37 percent.

In addition, ASPA documented dozens of government subsidy programs benefitting shrimp farmers and processors in Ecuador, India, Indonesia and Vietnam, including subsidized loans, tax concessions, grants, export credits and the provision of land, water and other inputs.

ASPA filed the petitions on behalf of the domestic shrimp harvesting and processing sectors, garnering a remarkable amount of support from hundreds of shrimp boats representing the majority of domestic warmwater shrimp landings and from processors representing over 85 percent of domestic shrimp processing.

“We are truly proud to file these cases on behalf of shrimp boats and shrimp processors,” ASPA President Mr. Trey Pearson said.

“The overwhelming outpouring of support from the entire shrimp industry demonstrates how important trade relief is to everyone. Our petitions include nearly 800 shrimp harvesters representing over half of all domestic landings. ASPA is especially thankful to the many individuals and organizations whose hard work and commitment allowed ASPA to file these cases with the full support of the entire shrimp industry.”

Shrimp imports from the four countries increased by more than 200 million pounds from 2020 to 2022, taking market share from an already vulnerable domestic industry. Imports also deeply undersold domestic shrimp, driving down prices to historically low levels in 2023 for both fishermen and processors.

As a result, the domestic industry’s profit margin has all but disappeared, threatening the future viability of an industry that is critical to the Gulf region’s economy and cultural heritage.

Trade counsel to ASPA, Ms. Elizabeth Drake and Mr. Eddy Hayes, provided the following statement in connection with the filings. “These petitions are necessary due to continued unfair trade practices causing significant market distortions and price depression in the United States. If successful, antidumping and countervailing duty orders will result in tariffs that offset the dumping and subsidies undertaken by foreign companies and foreign governments. This should bring a measure of market correction and badly needed relief to the entire domestic shrimp industry.”

The petitions were filed at the U.S. Department of Commerce and the U.S. International Trade Commission.

Commerce is expected to announce whether it will initiate investigations by Nov. 15, and the Commission is expected to vote on whether there is a reasonable indication of injury to the domestic industry on Dec. 8.

If both determinations are affirmative, full investigations at both agencies will last into the fall of 2024.

For additional information about the trade petitions, including public copies, visit americanshrimp.com/trade-case/.