Imported Shrimp Dumped in the US, Commerce Says
China, Vietnam, four other countries targeted by the ''extensive'' punitive ruling
WASHINGTON, DC - 12/03/04 - In one of the largest and most extensive punitive rulings reached in recent years, the US Department of Commerce (DOC) has ruled that shrimp imported from Vietnam and China is being dumped on the US market.
According to the final determination by Commerce the imported frozen and canned warm-water shrimp from both countries has been sold at less than fair value, with margins ranging up to 112.81% for China and 25.76% for Vietnam.
China and Vietnam were reportedly considered separately from four other countries under parallel dumping investigations because Washington regards them as "non-market economies," said sources at the DOC, which is expected to issue final ruling on the four countries - Thailand, Brazil, Ecuador, and India - by December 20.
In 2003, combined shrimp imports from the six countries amounted to almost $2.7 billion, of which around $1 billion's worth came from China and Vietnam.
An alliance of shrimp producers from eight US states that had requested the DOC investigation alleged that the countries in question are dumping excess production on the US market "to expand their market share" demanding the imposition of tariffs ranging up to 267%.
The industry group had asserted that the target countries sell shrimp in their home countries at prices between 32% and 349% higher than they charge in the US.
According to industry news reports, shrimp producers in China have vocally rejected the dumping allegations and said that the six countries can produce shrimp at a much lower cost through farming than US producers, who face rapidly growing fuel, gear, and labor costs because they harvest shrimp grown in the "wild."
US companies that market, distribute and sell seafood said that the imposition of duties would hurt consumers of the US' most popular seafood by pushing shrimp prices up.
Figures supplied by the Virginia-based National Fisheries Institute show that imported shrimp now accounts for about 80% of the American market with US producers accounting for the remaining market share.
Per capita consumption of shrimp in the US reached 3.4 pounds per capita last year, the industry group said.
After the preliminary Commerce rulings, the governments of China and some other countries criticized the decisions, but only Brazil has threatened to contest the ruling in the World Trade Organization if duties are indeed imposed.
Imposition of anti-dumping duties requires final affirmative determinations both from the Commerce Department that dumping occurred and from the US International Trade Commission (USITC) that the imports "injured or threatened" US industry.
The USITC is expected to make its final injury determination in all six cases in January 2005.
In the case of affirmative USITC rulings on both injury and critical circumstances, duties will be applied retroactively to April of this year to imports from producers "for whom critical circumstances were found."
The DOC, said the Washington Wire, calculated a separate dumping margin for Chinese and Vietnamese companies that "demonstrated that their export activities had not been controlled by government."
As a result of that calculation, only a single Chinese shrimp producer and exporter - Zhangjiang Guolian Aquatic Products Co. Ltd. - was exempted from the punitive ruling.
The dumping margins are Allied Pacific Group, 84.93%; Shantou Red Garden Foodstuff Co. Ltd., 27.89%; Yelin Enterprise Co. of Hong Kong, 82.27%; separate rate, 55.23%; all others, 112.81% for China, and Minh Phu Seafood Corporation, 4.21%; Kim Ahn Co. Ltd., 25.76%; Minh Hai Joint Stock Seafood Processing Co., 4.13%; Camau Frozen Seafood processing Import Export Corporation, 4.99%; separate rate, 4.38%; all others, 25.76% for Vietnam.
Dumping is the import of goods at a price below the home-market or a third-country price or below the cost of production. In case of non-market economies the DOC uses a surrogate third-market country for calculating margins.
A dumping margin represents by how much the fair-value price exceeds the dumped price.
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