If you’re wondering what’s happening in the Shrimping Industry, you’re not alone. Many other shrimp producers are experiencing similar problems, as well. If you’re a shrimp exporter, you’re also facing the same legal problems that other seafood producers are facing. Learn about the legal challenges shrimp exporters face, as well as the claims in the recent lawsuits. Continue reading to learn more.
Claims in the Shrimping Industry Loss of Business Lawsuits
While the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has caused significant economic damage, it is not the sole cause. Several fishermen, boat owners, packagers, and distributors are also facing large economic losses. The shrimping season, which begins in late February, is being closed in many places. Because of the spill, shrimping operations are already facing financial losses. The shrimping industry is also facing an uncertain future because of the spill and closures.
In the shrimping industry, the US State Department has cited concerns about labor conditions in the Thai shrimping industry and faulted the Thai government’s record of combating exploitation. The plaintiff based her case on recent news reports, documentaries, and reports from the London-based Environmental Justice Foundation. The Environmental Justice Foundation’s reports detailed abuses on the sea, including torture, chaining workers, and ghost ships. In the California lawsuit, the plaintiff has sought class-action status, which would include all other similar California consumers.
Impact of lawsuits on shrimp exports to the United States
The International Trade Commission reported that the recent flood of shrimp imports is outpacing the U.S. market, and the low price of shrimp is not being passed on to the consumer. Data compiled by Food Beat Inc. shows that consumer prices of shrimp in restaurants increased five times more than their value decreased from 2000 to 2003. Shrimp exports from Southeast Asia to the United States are up nearly 16 percent in 2018.
Apex and Falcon have challenged the dumping margins determined by Commerce, arguing that they were improperly labeled antidumping duties. However, the Ad Hoc Shrimp Trade Action Committee, an association of domestic shrimp producers, also challenged the dumping margins, arguing that the antidumping duty should be deducted from the EP and increase the companies’ margins. These cases have now reached the Supreme Court.
Impact of anti-dumping investigations on shrimp exports to the United States
The US Department of Commerce recently removed import duties on 32 Vietnamese shrimp exporters from its list of non-tariff barriers. Commerce officials had previously assessed a duty of 4.58 percent against Vietnamese products as a way to account for the unfair advantage their products enjoy over their U.S. counterparts. The Commerce officials had previously estimated that the Vietnamese products were worth more than US$3 million.
The SEAI was not happy with the initiation of the investigation, but they were prepared to act. They had already gathered more than seventy-five percent of US producers to sign a petition opposing the initiation of the investigation. In addition, they had already worked out plans to contest the dumping allegations and point to differences between Indian and US sea-caught shrimp. As a result, the SEAI’s response to the anti-dumping investigation has been largely successful.
Legal challenges facing shrimp exporters
Despite the high-tech, high-priced equipment that shrimp exporters need to meet international demands, importing countries continue to place strict technical and legal barriers on the import of seafood, especially those containing antibiotic residues. Six major importing countries have already declared that they will only buy products with disease-free certification and recognition. These six countries account for 25 percent of total Vietnamese shrimp exports, which are valued at USD 800 million annually.
In Mexico, government and corporate efforts have focused on disease control and the development of biotechnologies to increase productivity. Since 2002, total production has grown steadily, despite the numerous outbreaks of diseases and pests. In 2004, the area under cultivation increased by 28%, and production increased by 35% despite sanitary issues. To address these issues, the state government and shrimp farmers formed the Aquaculture Sanitary Committee of the State of Sonora in 2002, which also implemented a sanitary verification program.