US Shrimp Industry Losses due to BP, Not Unfair Trade
BP earlier this month agreed to pay $18.7 billion to settle all federal and state claims arising from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico … and took a giant step toward wrapping up its losses from this disaster.
Not so the Gulf’s seafood industry – still contending with a competitive environment changed (perhaps forever) by the spill.
In April, the US Court of International Trade ruled against a Coalition of Gulf Shrimp Industries appeal, and upheld the US International Trade Commission September 2013 decision NOT to impose the countervailing duties on imported shrimp that COGSI had sought.
In petitioning the USITC for an investigation back in 2012, COGSI had charged that China, Ecuador, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam unfairly subsidized shrimp exports to the US. The USITC found evidence of subsidies – but decided the domestic industry had not suffered material damage from the foreign competition.
COGSI’s appeal of the USITC decision hinged largely on the Commission’s investigative methods, such as confining the “period of investigation” to the three years beginning in 2010 (instead of 2009, the year before Deepwater, as COGSI had requested).
The Court upheld the USITC methodology – and concluded that, while domestic shrimpers have indeed suffered, US shrimp industry losses were due to the BP oil spill and not by unfair competition from foreign producers who were “merely taking advantage of a business opportunity.”
Perhaps so. Clearly the foreign competition is here to stay. As one Louisiana shrimp processor told Lafourche Parish’s Daily Comet: “We had a problem with imports prior to the Deepwater. We had a problem with imports during the Deepwater. And we’re having a problem with imports after the Deepwater.”
For a look at the 5-year trends in US shrimp imports and the current top importers, shippers and carriers in this trade, download our free report: Tops in Trade US Shrimp Imports 2014-15
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Date posted: July 9, 2015