ITC rules domestic shrimpers injured by subsidized imports

BILOXI — The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) determined that there was a reasonable indication that the domestic shrimp industry is injured by subsidized imports of shrimp from China, Ecuador, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam, according to the Coalition of Gulf Shrimp Industries (COGSI).

COGSI filed petitions seeking relief from subsidized shrimp imports on Dec. 28, 2012. The Commerce Department initiated the government investigations on Jan. 18.

“Today we cleared another hurdle on the path to obtain relief from massive and unfair government support of their industries in seven key shrimp exporting nations,” said David Veal, executive director of Biloxi-based COGSI. “We appreciate the efforts of the Commission staff in the preliminary injury investigation and are thankful that the Commission’s vote will permit the investigations to move to the next stage.”

The decision by the ITC means that the petitions filed by COGSI detailing government subsidies from these nations will now proceed to the U.S. Department of Commerce for an examination of countervailable subsidies provided on shrimp exports to the U.S. and then to a final injury investigation and determination by the ITC.

A final decision from the ITC on the merits of the COGSI case to level the playing field is expected sometime in the second half of 2013. A final affirmative decision down the road by both Commerce and the ITC on the case would lead to the imposition of countervailing duties on up to $4.3 billion of shrimp imports, according to COGSI.

U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) is calling on the U.S. Department of Commerce to promptly act to protect Gulf Coast shrimpers.

“Economic hardships associated with unfair trade practices are apparent to shrimpers all along the Gulf Coast,” Cochran said in a statement. “The finding by the International Trade Commission is very good news for our shrimpers. The Commerce Department must now be diligent issuing penalties that can level the playing field for the U.S. shrimping industry.”

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