United States announced this week it will continue import duties on shrimp from Thailand, China, Vietnam, India and Brazil for five more years in a victory for the US shrimp industry hurt by last year's BP oil spill.
The U.S. International Trade Commission, by a vote of 5-1, said it believed revoking the anti-dumping order would open the door for the five countries to resume selling frozen shrimp in the U.S. market at unfairly low prices.
Louisiana shrimper James Blanchard told the panel last month he feared many Gulf shrimpers would be forced out of business if the duties imposed in 2005 were lifted.
Right now, many fishermen are very worried about the long-term impact of the spill. We did everything we could to help clean up the oil and save our fishery, but we just won't know if there will be long-term effects on our business until the spring, Blanchard said.
Even with the duties, the United States imported 1.24 billion USD worth of shrimp in 2010. More than one-third came from Thailand, followed by Ecuador, Indonesia, Vietnam and China as the next biggest suppliers.
Our industry still has a lot of work to do to ensure that it can remain competitive, but at least this should give us the opportunity we deserve to compete on a level playing field, John Williams, executive director of the Southern Shrimp Alliance, said in a statement hailing the decision.
Many Gulf state politicians -- including Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal and Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour -- also pressed the ITC to retain the tariffs.
The governments of Brazil, China, India, Thailand and Vietnam have been furiously working to help these foreign shrimp industries increase their production capacity in preparation for the opportunity to resume exporting their underpriced shrimp into the United States,” Jindal said in a letter to the commission last month.