The US Commerce Department has said it is delaying its decision on whether or not to impose anti-dumping tariffs on imported shrimp due to the complexity of the issue.

The anti-dumping case was brought by domestic US shrimp producers who claim that imported shrimp from six countries – Brazil, China, Ecuador, India, Thailand and Vietnam – has been being sold at unfairly low prices on the US market.
The Commerce Department has moved the date that it will announce its preliminary determination as to whether or not there has been dumping and the extent of such dumping, from 8 June to 2 July 2004 for China and Vietnam, and from 8 June to 28 July for Brazil, Ecuador, India and Thailand.

The CITAC/ASDA Shrimp Task Force, which was formed to make sure the US government considers all the facts of the case fairly and objectively, welcomed the delay, but said it would have preferred that decisions for each of the six countries were postponed to the 28 July.

“Each of these investigations, including those of Vietnam and China, is equally complex and requires as much time as legally permitted to ensure a fair result,” said task force chairman Wally Stevens.

The task force is made up for the Consuming Industries Trade Action Coalition (CITAC), which has formed an alliance with the American Seafood Distributors Associations (ASDA), bringing together concerned grocers, restaurants, processors, distributors, business councils and other consuming groups “due to the threat that duties pose to both consumers and to the consuming industries that serve them”.

Nearly 90% of all shrimp consumed in the US is now imported and the six countries targeted by the anti-dumping claims are responsible for approximately 75% of shrimp imports into the US.