The U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) will not revoke the existing antidumping duties on frozen warmwater shrimp from China, India, Thailand, and Vietnam. According to the USITC's notice, the Commission considers that a revocation of the orders "would be likely to lead to continuation or recurrence of material injury within a reasonably foreseeable time."
On the same day the USITC released the decision, the American Shrimp Processors Association (ASPA) stated, "Today, the ITC provided us with a lifeline and incentive to continue the fight to allow this industry to survive in a fair competitive environment."
The decision not to revoke the antidumping duties on shrimp from these Asian countries was made unanimously after the five members of the USITC, the Chairman and four Commissioners, voted to uphold them. "As a result of the Commission's affirmative determinations, the existing orders on imports of this product from China, India, Thailand, and Vietnam will remain in place," said the official notification.
The action that has led to it is part of the five-year review sunset process required by the Uruguay Round Agreements Act. This Act requires that, after five years, the Department of Commerce (DOC) revoke an antidumping or countervailing duty order, or terminate a suspension agreement, unless the DOC and the USITC determine that doing so will result in the likely continuation or recurrence of dumping or commerce subsidies and of material injury within a reasonably foreseeable time.
The DOC instituted the five-year sunset reviews concerning frozen warmwater shrimp from China, India, Thailand, and Vietnam on May 2, 2022. Both the American Shrimp Processors Association (ASPA) and the Ad Hoc Shrimp Trade Action Committee (AHSTAC) then submitted the necessary documentation to participate in the review. According to AHSTAC – a sub-committee of the Southern Shrimp Alliance (SSA) –, nineteen different U.S. shrimp processors, estimated to account for 55 percent of U.S. shrimp production in 2021, provided the Commission with information regarding their operations over the last several years.
"These processors informed the Commission that trade relief had allowed them to operate profitability between 2019 and September 2022," the SSA reported. "Nevertheless, while showing industry-wide profits, margins were thin, with operating income ratios (as a percentage of net sales values) for the processing segment of the industry increasing from 0.9 percent in 2019 to 2.9 percent in 2020 before falling to 1.6 percent in 2021. Of the 19 processors providing the agency with information, eight told the Commission that they suffered losses on their operations in 2021."
For its part, the American Shrimp Processors Association recalled that the U.S. shrimp industry is a vital part of the social, cultural and economic fabric of the country, especially in the Gulf Coast and South Atlantic communities, and applauded the decision of the U.S. International Trade Commission.
"Decades of increasing imported shrimp volumes have created a race to the bottom on prices and decimated our market share. Today, the ITC provided us with a lifeline and incentive to continue the fight to allow this industry to survive in a fair competitive environment," stated Trey Pearson, ASPA President.
The Association, which calls these imports from China, India, Thailand and Vietnam "unfairly traded imported shrimp," has been defending antidumping orders for 15 years. Agree with ASPA that trade relief is critical to survival. "The trade remedy system is crucial to our international trade legal framework. Antidumping duties provide important discipline on goods sold at less than fair value, and we thank the ITC Commissioners and staff for carefully considering the data and the impact of continued dumping on this important domestic industry," said ASPA trade counsel Elizabeth Drake and Eddy Hayes in a joint statement.
Finally, in a release from the Southern Shrimp Alliance, its Executive Director, John Williams, expressed his satisfaction with the outcome of the USITC vote, and expressed his gratitude for the support received to achieve it. "Securing relief against dumped imports for another five years doesn't happen without the unwavering support of our elected representatives, particularly Senator Bill Cassidy, Senator John Kennedy, and Congressman Garret Graves. And it doesn't happen without hundreds of businesses across the Gulf and South Atlantic investing significant time and resources into defending our industry," he said.