Joint Press Release on Shrimp Case

(As of January 6, 2004)

On December 31st, 2003, the Ad Hoc Shrimp Trade Action Committee on behalf of the Southern Shrimp Alliance (SSA) filed an Anti-dumping (AD) petition on shrimp imports from Brazil, China, Ecuador, India, Thailand, and Vietnam. Under this circumstance the exporting countries would like to express their grave and profound concern over the decision of certain U.S. shrimpers to seek trade remedy measures against shrimp exporting countries.

It is well known that the domestic shrimp production in the U.S. simply cannot meet the overall domestic demand. Imported shrimp, in fact, accounts for over 80% of the total domestic shrimp consumption. Moreover, imported shrimp is also not the cause for the US shrimpers’ present predicament. On the other hand, imported shrimp is the only cost efficient source catering to the consumers’ needs. No legal action will change the fact that farm-raised shrimp from exporting countries is more cost effective than U.S. wild-harvested shrimp. The exporting countries are strongly concerned that any trade defense action will only result in trade disruption and could end up hurting the interests of American consumers who would have to pay higher prices due to increased import duties. Moreover, the imported shrimp has become an alternative “center of the plate” healthy source of protein while remaining price competitive to other meat products. This provides a tremendous benefit to the U.S. consumer.

Shrimp imports have also benefited the US economy in other ways, having created approximately 100,000 jobs in the domestic processing sector. It has also brought about increased opportunities to retailers and restaurants across the country by providing additional incomes estimated at more than US$2 billion annually.

The exporting countries strongly believe that more appropriate solutions can be achieved through collaboration so that the American consumer will be able to continue to enjoy the affordable products while also resolving the domestic shrimp industry’s current economic situation.

Lastly, we would like to emphasize our commitment to free trade, a principle that we all share and cherish as the means for fostering global economic development. This is particularly relevant in this case since most of the shrimp exporting countries are developing countries. We, therefore, call upon respective U.S. government agencies to give careful consideration to this especially important issue.