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Coalition of Gulf Shrimp Industries Files Petitions for Relief From Subsidized Shrimp Imports

Friday, 28 Dec 2012 | 5:00 PM ET

BILOXI, Miss., Dec. 28, 2012 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Today the Coalition of Gulf Shrimp Industries filed petitions with the U.S. government seeking relief from subsidized shrimp imports from seven countries. The petitions seek the imposition of countervailing duties on shrimp from China, Ecuador, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam. These duties are needed to offset the unfair trade advantage currently held by these countries.

U.S. producers struggle every day to compete with artificially low-priced imported shrimp that is heavily subsidized by foreign governments. Since 2009, shrimp producers in these seven countries have gained U.S. market share by aggressively undercutting domestic prices through the use of billions of dollars in assistance from their respective governments. Subsidized imports have suppressed and depressed domestic prices, eroding domestic sales, destroying U.S. jobs, and eliminating the operating margins of domestic producers.

Shrimp is a major export commodity in each of these seven countries, and their governments have set specific growth and export targets for their domestic shrimp industries as part of their national economic development plans. To meet these targets, these foreign governments are spending billions of dollars on subsidies for their shrimp industries, including grants, investments, low interest loans, tax breaks, the provision of land, shrimp feed, and other key inputs, and export credits and guarantees. The petitions filed today document over one hundred programs benefitting shrimp producers in these seven countries, including numerous export subsidies.

"Today's filing is about the survival of the entire U.S. shrimp industry," said C. David Veal, Executive Director of the Coalition of Gulf Shrimp Industries. "Our harvesters, docks, and processors have all played a vital role in the economy and culture of the Gulf region throughout its history. This case will help determine whether together we can continue to create jobs, contribute to economic growth, and sustain communities across the Gulf states for years to come."

"The Gulf shrimp community can compete with shrimp industries located anywhere in the world, but we can no longer compete with the deep pockets of foreign governments," said Edward T. Hayes, counsel to the Coalition of Gulf Shrimp Industries. "Imports dominate the market, and their unfair pricing is making it harder and harder for U.S. producers to cover their costs of production, much less make a reasonable return. Without relief, we fear that these unfair foreign subsidies could eventually drive our domestic industry to extinction."

"We are working hard to ensure the long term prosperity of the U.S. shrimp industry. Success in these cases is critical to leveling the playing field by eliminating unfair foreign trade practices and restoring hope to our Gulf shrimp community," added Dr. Veal.

The countries covered by the petitions exported $4.3 billion worth of shrimp to the U.S. in 2011, accounting for 85% of imports and over three quarters of the domestic market. The petitions will be investigated by the U.S. International Trade Commission and the Department of Commerce, with final determinations expected in the second half of 2013.

About the Coalition of Gulf Shrimp Industries: The Coalition of Gulf Shrimp Industries was formed to support these petitions and to work for the long-term survival of the entire Gulf shrimp industry. The domestic producers supporting the petitions account for over 90% of domestic U.S. production, and they represent the industry across the coastal states of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. For a fact sheet with more information on the petitions, go to www.gulfshrimpcoalition.com

CONTACT: Media Contacts: David Veal, Executive Director director@gulfshrimpcoalition.com (228) 806-9600 Edward Hayes, Legal Counsel ehayes@leakeandersson.com (504) 717-9787Source:Coalition of Gulf Shrimp Industries