WASHINGTON, D.C. – Last week U.S. Congressman Walter B. Jones (NC-3) and three of his colleagues sent a letter to Deanna Okun, Chairwoman of the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) supporting the continuation of antidumping duty orders on frozen warmwater shrimp from Brazil, China, India, Thailand and Vietnam. The orders were put in place in 2005 after a U.S. Department of Commerce investigation found that exporters from these countries were illegally dumping shrimp onto the U.S. market at less than fair value. In a separate investigation, the U.S. International Trade Commission confirmed that the illegal dumping was having devastating effects on the U.S. shrimp industry, including widespread economic losses and bankruptcies. The trade relief has helped level the playing field for the domestic shrimp industry. Jones and Congressmen Jo Bonner (AL-1), Jeff Landry (LA-3) and Steven Palazzo (MS-4) argue that continuation is imperative for the economies and culture of American shrimping communities.
The text of the letter follows:
“Dear Chairman Okun and Commissioners:
We are writing to express support for the continuation of the antidumping duty orders on frozen warmwater shrimp from Brazil, China, India, Thailand, and Vietnam. These orders have played a crucial role in the survival and continued viability of the shrimp industry in the Gulf and South Atlantic states, and their continuation is essential to the thousands of men and women who work in this industry, as well as their families and communities.
Prior to the domestic shrimp industry’s pursuit of trade relief at the end of 2003, a massive flood of unfairly traded imported shrimp had drastically changed the shape of the U.S. shrimp market. In a short period of time, U.S. shrimp imports had nearly doubled in volume, while the prices of those imports decreased significantly. As import prices fell, domestic shrimp prices collapsed as well. This flood of imports had devastating effects on the domestic shrimp industry, leading to the bankruptcy and closure of many small and medium sized businesses. These businesses, many of which had been family owned for generations, were involved in all segments of the industry, from harvesting, processing, and purchasing shrimp, to supplying and maintaining vessels and equipment used by the industry.
The trade relief that was put in place in 2005 arrested the massive increase in shrimp imports and the declining prices of those imports. Since the orders were put in place, the domestic industry has had to contend with destructive hurricanes, escalating fuel prices, and a devastating oil spill that crippled the industry for much of 2010, yet it has survived because of the spirit, hard work, and perseverance of the men and women who make up this industry. The trade orders have been essential to giving these men and women an opportunity to compete on a more level playing field.
As the domestic shrimp producing industry continues its recovery from the Gulf oil spill, and at a time when fuel prices are skyrocketing once again, revocation of the orders would result in a greater flood of shrimp imports, would drive prices even lower, and would be a devastating blow to all segments of the domestic industry. This industry is vital not only to the economies of our communities, but also to their culture. We respectfully urge you to maintain the antidumping orders on frozen warmwater shrimp.”
Washington, Jan 31