The Seafood Exporters Association of India will be sending a professional team to the US to discuss the issue on the imposition of countervailing duties on frozen warm water shrimps from India.

“We will be engaging US-based lawyers to represent the Indian industry to appear before the United States Department of Commerce (DoC) to sort out the issue of countervailing duties, Norbert Karikkassery, President of SEAI, Kerala region, said.

Addressing a press conference here on Friday, he said that the US-based Coalition of Gulf Shrimp Industries filed a petition before the International Trade Administration, DoC, and US International Trade Commission for imposing such duties from China, Ecuador, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam. The petition makes several allegations regarding the counter-valiable subsidies provided in India with regard to the manufacture, production and export of certain frozen warm water shrimp.

The petition identifies certain subsidy programmes as counter-valiable to the shrimp industry in India.

It also alleged that the Indian Government is aggressively promoting its shrimp industry through the provision of generous Government subsidies, SEAI officials said.

It also called for the initiation of an investigation into the counter-vailable subsidies and to impose duties through a countervailing duty order in an amount that would offset the benefit conferred by these subsidies.

The SEAI President pointed out that the seafood industry is passing through a tough phase due to unforeseen developments in the international scene that included the recessionary trends in the US and Europe. This coupled with the technical trade barrier by Japan has also affected the sector.

India’s marine exports are unlikely to surpass the $3.5-billion mark achieved last year due to various other issues in the domestic sector as well.

There has been a decline in the marine products exports for the first half year April-September 2012-13 compared to the corresponding period.

The exports have registered a decline of 6.91 per cent in quantity and 16.60 per cent in dollar earnings, he added.

Besides, the increase in reefer base rates by all the shipping lines operating from Indian coasts for freezer container rates, terminal handling charges levied by terminal operator in the Kochi port, revised US anti dumping duty on frozen shrimp imports from India, withdrawal of Status Holder Incentive Scheme for marine industry had also made an impact on marine exports, he said.

The number of Indian companies exporting to the US has come down to 68 as on today from 270 in 2005 on account of various factors, he added

sajeevkumar.v@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on January 4, 2013)
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