Kochi: India’s shrimp exporters will get back around Rs500 crore they have paid as cash guarantees to US authorities in the past three years after the World Trade Organization, or WTO, ruled against the practice.
The US department of commerce had in 2004 imposed an anti-dumping duty on shrimp shipments, saying Indian exporters were selling the commodity at a lower price than to any other country. It had then asked Indian firms to buy customs bonds as a guarantee against dumping.
These bonds--whose values were calculated at 100% of the duty on total exports in the previous year—had to be purchased by exporters once a year. Some 70 firms shipped shrimps worth Rs2,300 crore to the US in the past three years.
India had argued at the WTO disputes panel that the US directive was inconsistent with its trade obligations under the general agreement on trade tariffs, anti-dumping agreement and various other agreements administered by the global trade body.
The disputes panel ruled in favour of India on 29 February. The US appealed against it in April, but WTO’s disputes settlement body adopted the panel and appellate body reports on 1 August, favouring India and Thailand on the issue.
Meanwhile, a recent duty cut on shrimp exports to 1.69% from 10.54% three years ago, after two annual reviews, will also help India’s shrimpexports, said Elias Sait, secretary general of the Seafood Exporters Association of India, which had taken up the issue at WTO on behalf of the Indian government.