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US shrimp farmers sue India

S Kalyana Ramanathan in Chennai | January 02, 2004 11:37 IST

The Southern Shrimp Alliance, a collective entity representing shrimp farmers in eight states in the United States, has filed an anti-dumping petition against six countries -- India, China, Thailand, Vietnam, Ecuador and Brazil.

Reacting to the development, a leading Indian shrimp exporter said the case irrespective of outcome could help Indian exporters.

"Since China is the biggest threat to American shrimp farmers, we expect the anti-dumping duty rate to be much higher on imports from China than from India. This would make India's exports more competitive than Chinese shrimps in the US market," said the exporter.

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China in the last three years has emerged as the second largest exporter of shrimps to the US. China during the first nine months of 2003 shipped 108 million pounds of shrimps to US against 15 million pounds in 1998.

Sources said any anti-dumping duty would not hurt Indian exports much.

"American shrimp farmers deal with a variety called Vannamei which is not exported by India. This variety is now exported to US by China, Thailand, Indonesia and Ecuador," said, Abraham J Tharakan, president, Seafood Exporters' Association of India.

India's shrimp exports is predominantly of Black Tiger and Scampi varieties. None are cultivated in US. SEAI recently appointed a Washington DC-based law firm, Garvey Schubert Barer, to fight the case on behalf of Indian shrimp exporters.

The initial investigation will be done by the US department of commerce. The final recommendation was expected to come from the International Trade Commission by mid-February 2004.

Consumption of shrimps in US was an estimated one billion pounds by weight. Thailand had market share close to 20 per cent, China had 10 per cent, Vietnam 9 per cent and India only 7.5 per cent.

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