Showdown over shrimps

Published: Sunday 29 February 2004

-- The us is targeting shrimp imports, with its commerce department filing an anti-dumping petition against six countries including India. As a counter-measure, the Seafood Exporters Association of India (seai) is collecting statistics and mobilising funds to challenge the litigation in us courts.

The us has asked the International Trade Commission to proceed with the hearing against Brazil, Ecuador, China, Thailand and Vietnam, apart from India. According to seai, an ad hoc Shrimp Action Committee, headed by the Southern Shrimp Alliance, is behind the us move. The alliance is a conglomerate of shrimp industry interests belonging to eight southern states of the us. Over 75 per cent of us producers have signed the petition.

India plans to contest the dumping charges on various grounds. For one, there are specific variations between the shrimp caught from the southwest coast of the us and off the Indian waters. Hence, the difference in prices. Moreover, unlike India, fishing in the us is a capital-intensive activity. The cost of cultured and captured shrimps in India is much lower than that in the us market, allowing Indian exporters to be competitive.

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