Kochi: The US department of commerce has initiated the third annual review of the anti-dumping duty on Indian shrimp exports, even while its total imports from across the globe have fallen drastically.
Total shrimp imports in the US have dropped to 556,936 tonnes in 2007 from 590,299 tonnes in 2006, with most of the blame attributed to the anti-dumping duty. The US has imposed anti-dumping duty on six countries — India, Thailand, China, Ecuador, Vietnam and Brazil. These countries have seen their exports to the US decline to 355,941 tonnes last year, from 386,221 tonnes in 2006.
The interim report for the second annual review for the period from February 2006 to January 2007 is expected early next month and the final order should come in August.
The US has sent notices to Indian shrimp exporters for the third annual review from February 2007 to January 2008, and has asked them to submit their review requests before 29 February.
Indian shrimp exports to the US have fallen to 20,776 tonnes in 2007, from 27,277 tonnes the previous year. The number of exporters has also fallen to fewer than 70, from 74 at the start of the second review. There were more than 115 exporters when the first review was conducted.
The anti-dumping duty on Indian shrimp was cut to 7.22% from 10.17% after the first annual review for the period from August 2004 to January 2006. The duty is based on the selling price to any country, which is treated as the fair value.
If the shrimp sold to the US is less than the fair value, it is treated as dumping the material and a duty is imposed. In addition to the anti-dumping duty, the US has imposed a customs bond, which is a cash guarantee collected by US customs against any further rise in the anti-dumping duty.
The bond is calculated at 100% of the duty payable on total exports during the previous year, and is valid for a year. This will mean that exporters will have to keep paying for fresh bonds until the final decision on the anti-dumping duty is taken in 2009.
India has challenged the imposition of the bond at the World Trade Organization and is waiting for the final verdict from the disputes panel. In its interim ruling in November 2007, the panel had said the measure went against international trade practices.
To add to the exporters’ woes, there were a series of rejections of Indian shrimp consignments in Australia, which has begun implementing new quarantine regulations that will prevent shipments of raw shrimp. All exports will have to be accompanied by a certification that the consignment is disease free.
Vishnu Bhat, director of the government trade promotion body Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA), said he is aware of the situation and the MPEDA will look into the issue.