ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
Shrimp exporters optimistic for US sales after subsidy ruling
Linda Yulisman, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta
Indonesian shrimp exporters are maintaining an upbeat outlook on selling their produce to the United States, despite a US panel ruling to exempt its rivals from countervailing duties.
The US International Trade Commission said on Friday (Saturday, Jakarta time) that the government subsidies given to shrimp industries in China, Ecuador, India, Malaysia and Vietnam did not harm US shrimp producers; therefore, it would not impose punitive duties as previously planned.
Last month, the US Department of Commerce imposed temporary duties ranging from 1.1 percent to 54.5 percent on shrimp exports from the five countries, while sparing Indonesia and Thailand from similar tariffs as their governments were not proven to have provided improper subsidies to their industries that exported produce to the US market.
Indonesian Fisheries Product Processing and Marketing Association (AP5I) chairman Thomas Darmawan said on Monday that Indonesian producers were ready to meet US consumers’ surging demand after US importers had previously temporarily halted shipments on the fear that punitive duties would be imposed on their deliveries when they arrived.
Global shrimp supplies are currently shrinking as major producing countries, like China, Thailand and Vietnam, are struggling with a common shrimp disease known as early mortality syndrome (EMS), which according to Thomas is offering opportunities to Indonesian shrimp exporters.
“We are optimistic because our local output is surging, partly supported by better domestic prices and government efforts to further encourage shrimp farming,” he said. “Nearly all neglected shrimp farms are now back in business due to foreign investors.”
Thomas said the shrimp industry was being revitalized in a number of areas, including Lampung, Sumbawa and Lombok in West Nusa Tenggara (NTB); East and South Kalimantan, and South, Southeast and North Sulawesi.
In June, for instance, shrimp farmers on Seram Island, Maluku, harvested their first output from 400 hectares of farms that had been revitalized, according to Thomas.
Indonesian exporters may, however, have to deal with buyers who would push for lower prices due to the revocation of the US countervailing duties as well as the depreciation of local currencies against the US dollar, he said.
“We are being challenged to boost productivity while at the same time increase efficiency and productivity in order to compete,” he said.
Indonesia ships nearly half of its total shrimp exports to the US.
The country’s shrimp exports to the US amounted to US$484 million between January and October last year. That figure was 4.8 percent higher than during the same period in 2011 and equal to 47 percent of overall shrimp exports.
Indonesia was the second-largest shrimp exporter to the US, after Thailand, in 2011, according to US statistics.
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