Cochran: Gulf shrimp industry needs 'a level playing field'

WASHINGTON, DC (WLOX) - Senator Thad Cochran is standing up for the Gulf shrimp industry, saying the U.S. needs to better enforce trade rules that would create a level playing field with international competition.

"The Gulf shrimp industry is important to Mississippi's economy, contributing to thousands of jobs and over a hundred million in annual economic output. Unfortunately the recent surge in imports due to foreign subsidy programs has been a detriment to these jobs and the industry as a whole. While I support maintaining strong international trade relations, it is important that our trading partners play by the rules," Cochran said in his testimony submitted Tuesday tot he U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC).

Those foreign subsidies are coming from countries like China, Ecuador, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam. The U.S. Department of Commerce is considering whether to impose countervailing duties against subsidized shrimp imports. A final determination could come this month.

"American businesses rely on the International Trade Commission to enforce our trade laws and to help ensure our domestic workers can compete fairly in the international marketplace," said Cochran, the ranking Republican on the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee.

The Biloxi-based Coalition of Gulf Shrimp Industries is the petitioner in this trade case.

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