WASHINGTON — Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) and Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) recently testified before the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) that existing antidumping duties must be extended to promote an even playing field for U.S. shrimpers “besieged by unfair foreign imports.”
The ITC is in the process of determining whether conditions within the U.S. shrimp industry warrant the continuation or removal of antidumping duties against frozen warmwater shrimp imports from Brazil, China, India, Thailand and Vietnam.
Cochran and Wicker were among the witnesses appearing before the ITC who argued that the duties imposed five years ago have been helpful in creating an environment for price stability and industry investment, and removing them now could lead to detrimental consequences for domestic shrimpers.
Shrimp production in Mississippi totaled about 10 million pounds in 2009, a 26 percent increase when compared to 7.8 million pounds in 2005. The 2009 season was valued at almost $13 million, and the industry had an estimated $115-million economic impact on the state.
The senators said the antidumping duties have also helped protect the Gulf Coast shrimp industry, which has been beset by a series of disasters, including hurricanes, an economic recession and the recent oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
Other Mississippi Gulf Coast witnesses scheduled to appear before the Commission included: E. Richard Gollott Sr. of Golden Gulf Coast Packaging Co., Biloxi; Jonathan McLendon of Biloxi Freezing and Processing Inc.; Angel Truong of Asian Americans for Change, Pascagoula; and, O. Steven Bosarge of Bosarge Boating Inc., Pascagoula.
The ITC could make its decision to continue the antidumping duties as soon as mid-March.