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US confirms dumping levy on Indian shrimp

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A Kerala fisherman checking a shrimp catch. Shrimp exports to the US are facing problems with the US Department of Commerce imposing anti-dumping duty. The average duty, however, has been lowered by five per cent. The decision will come up for review before the International Trade Commission in January. — H. Vibhu

Kochi , Dec. 21

THE US Commerce Department has imposed a final anti-dumping duty of an average 9.45 per cent on shrimp imports from India.

Seafood exporters in the country got a breather, as the final duty is lower than the 14.2 per cent duty the Department had announced in its preliminary determination in the anti-dumping investigation.

India's seafood industry said though the new duty was lower than expected, it would wait for the final ruling of the US International Trade Commission (ITC) on the anti-dumping duty before charting out its strategy to counter the move.

The ITC will announce its ruling around January 31, 2005.

The US Department slapped a duty of 13.42 per cent on Hindustan Lever Ltd (HLL), 5.02 per cent on Devi Seafoods and 9.71 per cent on Nekkanti Seafoods, while slamming 9.45 per cent on other Indian exporters.

While HLL benefited out of the final rate, as its new duty is just about half the previous rate of 27.49 per cent announced in the preliminary determination, Nekkanti Seafoods (9.16 per cent previously) and Devi Seafoods (3.56 per cent previously) will have to pay a higher duty now.

Along with India, the US Department imposed anti-dumping duties on Brazil, Ecuador and Thailand at an average of 10.4 per cent, 3.26 per cent and 6.03 per cent respectively.

Last month, the Department announced anti-dumping duties ranging from 27.89 per cent to 112.81 per cent on shrimp imports from China and 4.13 per cent to 25.76 per cent on Vietnam.

The National President of Seafood Exporters Association of India (SEAI), Mr A. J. Tharakan, said the present level of duty put the industry in a "much better position" compared to the previous duty regime.

"We are in single digit... . But we still feel it is an irritant. It is not going to serve any purpose to help the US shrimp industry," Mr Tharakan said.

"We are going to fight right till the end."

Mr Tharakan feared that the duty could affect India's shrimp exports to the US in the coming months.

India's seafood exports to the US in the last financial year stood at $366 million, down from $424.5 million in 2002-03.

According to Mr G. Mohan Kumar, Chairman of the Marine Product Export Development Authority (MPEDA), the final rate of duty is much lower than what the industry had anticipated and hence, it does not cause a major worry.

The duties imposed on India's main competitors, Thailand and Vietnam, are not significantly lower than those on India either, he said.

"We can manage... " Mr Kumar said.

If the ITC holds that the imports into the US are "materially injuring or threatening to injure the domestic industry," the Commerce Department will issue anti-dumping duty orders and will instruct the US Customs and Border Protection (Customs) to collect cash deposits on imports.

On the other hand, if the ITC finds that there is no harm to the domestic industry because of the imports, the investigations will be terminated and no orders will be issued.

More Stories on : Aquaculture | Exports & Imports | Anti-dumping

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