US cuts duty on Indian shrimps

US cuts duty on Indian shrimps

The US department of commerce has released its final figures on shrimp anti-dumping duties in its first annual administrative review, lowering rates for India and Brazil, marginally raising it for Thailand, and leaving the duty at the same levels for China and Vietnam.

Several exporters from India, Brazil and Thailand made presentations against the preliminary determination of duties by the commerce department for the period from August 2004 to January 2006. The representations helped bring down the duties of India and Brazil.

The duties, calculated on the basis of underselling in the US compared with the sale prices in other countries of two or three large exporters representing the country, of Indian companies Hindustan Unilever Ltd was brought down to 18.83% from the preliminary levy of 24.52%, Falcon Marine Exports Ltd to 4. 38% from 11.09%, while that of Liberty Group remained unchanged at 4.38%. The duty levy helped bring down India’s countrywide duty by taking into account weightage to quantity exported by these three firms—7.22% from 10.54% under the initial determination.

According to the figures published in the commerce department’s federal registry, the rate for the majority of Brazilian exporters fell to 6.96% from as high as 48.13% under the preliminary determination and the countrywide rate for Thailand went up marginally to 4.31% from 4.24%.

The commerce department already has begun the process for the second annual review, for the period from February 2006 to January 2007.

The federal agency has selected the three sample companies or mandatory respondents—Devi Seafoods Ltd with a duty of 4.94%, Falcon Marine (4.38%) and Liberty Group (4.03%) to represent the Indian shrimp industry.

While the commerce department has admitted that it followed the practice of zeroing, where shrimp sold in the US above a fixed, fair price was ignored for calculating the duty and based the determination solely on the price below the fixed level, India plans to move the World Trade Organization (WTO) in this matter.

Ecuador, which got a favourable verdict from the WTO on this move, saw a reduction in duty that fell below the 2% level, taking the Latin American country out of the duty ambit.

Since the duties of the sample companies are below 5%, calculations keeping out the zeroing methodology may see the duties fall further, and if they fall below the 2% level, India can be exempt from the anti-dumping duty.

G. Mohankumar, chairman of Marine Products Export Development Authority, said the duty fall and less than 5% level of the three sample companies put India at an advantageous position. The WTO also would be petitioned soon, he said.