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Sunday, Jan 04, 2004

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Seafood exporters in funds drive to fight dumping suit

C.J. Punnathara

Kochi , Jan. 3

THE seafood exporters under the aegis of the Seafood Exporters Association of India (SEAI) are on a fund mobilisation drive to fight the anti-dumping suit against the Indian shrimp exporters, which is slated to come up for hearing in the US on January 20.

The Southern Shrimp Alliance (SSA), a loose confederation of the US shrimp industry interests of eight southern shrimp producing States had petitioned the US Department of Commerce and the US International Trade Commission requesting that anti-dumping duties be imposed on shrimp imports from eight countries, including China, Thailand, Vietnam, Ecuador, Brazil and India.

The association is expected to fund the costly legal defence in the US collectively and no individual exporters would have to bear any separate expenditure. The total cost of fighting the legal suit in the US is expected to add up to $1.5 million (around Rs 7 crore).

Meanwhile, the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers have stated that it expects to incur an expenditure of over $1.2 million for fighting its case in the US courts. The association's General Secretary, Mr Nguye Dung, was quoted as saying that its members have been working with the US law firms in anticipation of the suit and its members have raised $70,000 so far.

The anti-dumping duties proposed for Indian shrimp imports into the US vary between 100 per cent and 130 per cent, the Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA) Chairman, Mr Jose Cyriac, said. The imposition of anti-dumping duty will become effective from July 20 onwards on Indian shrimp imports, in case the US International Trade Commission decides that there is sufficient ground to proceed with the petition filed by SSA against Indian exporters, sources in the SEAI told Business Line.

The imposition of anti-dumping duty will more than double the price of Indian shrimp in the US markets and the imports from India are expected to trickle down rapidly, the sources added. In fact, the imports from all countries against whom the US International Trade Commission finds sufficient grounds for proceeding with the case will suffer as competing countries are expected to flood the market with cheaper shrimp imports.

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