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U.S. Upholds Tariffs on Shrimp Imports

Anti-dumping duties are set for Brazil, Ecuador, India and Thailand. Critics say the penalties will raise food costs.

December 21, 2004|From Associated Press

The Bush administration Monday upheld the imposition of penalty tariffs on shrimp imports from Brazil, Ecuador, India and Thailand.

The move won praise from U.S. shrimp producers but drew criticism from importers, which said the penalty tariffs would drive up food costs for consumers.

The Commerce Department ruling affirmed with slight modifications a preliminary ruling reached in late July that the four countries were selling shrimp in the U.S. at unfairly low prices, a practice known as dumping.

The department imposed anti-dumping tariffs on shrimp imported from the four countries of 9.69% to 67.8% for Brazil, 2.35% to 4.48% for Ecuador, 5.02% to 13.42% for India and 5.79% to 6.82% for Thailand.

The penalty tariffs, which are already being collected subject to a possible refund, will be made final in late January if the U.S. International Trade Commission upholds its preliminary ruling that U.S. shrimp producers are being harmed by the imports.

The Commerce Department had ruled late last month that imports of shrimp from two other countries -- China and Vietnam -- were being sold in the U.S. at unfairly low prices and imposed anti-dumping duties on those two nations.

Together, the six countries provide about 75% of the shrimp that Americans eat.

An association representing shrimp producers in Ecuador said its members were happy the penalty tariffs were set far below the 104% to 207% tariff rates that U.S. shrimp producers had sought in their petition, given the importance of the U.S. market.

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