Indian Seafood Sector Hopes for End to US Duty on Shrimp03 July 2013
INDIA - The seafood export industry, smarting under a 5.91 per cent countervailing duty imposed by the US Department of Commerce on the shrimps imported from India, is pinning its hopes on the 'final determination' of the duty by the US authorities in September.
According to The Hindu Business Line, both exporters and Marine Products Export Development Authority functionaries hope that the Department of Commerce will scale down the duty during the final determination, expected early September.
The Commerce Department had, in its preliminary determination, imposed the duty on 29 May on the grounds that subsidies and aid provided by Indian Government agencies amounted to 'unfair trade practices.'
A US team had recently visited New Delhi and carried out extensive verification of the charges made against the seafood industry, a senior official of the marine export body told Business Line.
They held discussions with Union Commerce Ministry officials to see if the Government offered Indian shrimp industry any undue assistance.
One of the allegations raised by the US industry was that the export body paid subsidies to shrimp farmers and exporters that had reduced their cost of production and hence secured competitive advantage over US farmers.
Top officials, at their meetings with the US officials, explained that the subsidies were offered to tiny farmers.
These subsidies only encouraged the tiny farmers to opt for aquaculture as a source of livelihood, and not to improve their competitive muscle on the global market.
Moreover, compared to the huge earnings from shrimp exports, the subsidies were insignificant.
K.G. Lawrence, Vice-President of Seafood Exporters Association of India, said that the association believed the final determination would be favourable to India.
"We hope there would a substantial reduction in the duty," he told The Hindu Business Line.
He said the allegation of industry-specific assistance for seafood was baseless. Expert lawyers would be hired to convince the US authorities of this, he said.
TheMeatSite News Desk