Taylor Signs Petitions Against Imported Shrimp - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

01/12/04

Taylor Signs Petitions Against Imported Shrimp

U.S. Rep. Gene Taylor, D-Miss., said Monday he had added his signature to a letter supporting recent antidumping petitions filed against imported shrimp.

The letter, complaining that the shrimp have been flooding the American market, is being sent to U.S. Secretary of Commerce Donald Evans for his consideration.

Taylor said in a statement that the dumping was harming both U.S. shrimp harvesters and processors. He said that in 2000, the U.S. shrimp harvest was valued at $1.25 billion. By 2002, the value had dropped by over 50 percent, to $559 million.

"This is directly related to the large amount of foreign shrimp that has flooded the industry,'' Taylor said.

He said the average dockside price for shrimp had declined from $6.08 to $3.30 per pound and that employment levels of U.S. shrimp processors dropped by over 40 percent during that same time period.

"Due to restrictions and tariffs of other countries that foreign shrimp exports face, the United States is targeted as the easiest market for these shrimp to get into,'' Taylor said. "This not only has the obvious devastating effect on the domestic industry, but also makes us the recipient of a large quantity of shrimp with questionable health quality.''

The U.S. Southern Shrimp Alliance filed the antidumping petition Dec. 31 with the Commerce Department and the International Trade Commission against Thailand, China, Vietnam, India, Brazil and Ecuador. The eight-state group made up of shrimpers and processors from South Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico states.

Exporters from the targeted Asian countries - representing three of the biggest exporters of shrimp to the United States - argue they've done nothing wrong, and say the suit is just an example of Americans ignoring free trade to protect their own interests.

A ruling on the petition is expected by mid-February.

(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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