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WTO rules against US shrimp duties


March 2, 2008

WTO rules against US shrimp duties

The World Trade Organisation (WTO) ruled on Friday US’s requirement of cash bond to cover full anti-dumping duties on imports of shrimp from Thailand and India violated trade rules.

The application of "enhanced continuous bond requirement (EBR)" on Thai shrimp exports was inconsistent with the rules of anti-dumping agreements. “We uphold Thailand's claims that the application of the EBR to subject shrimp from Thailand is inconsistent... We reject the United States' argument that the application of the EBR is justified,” said the WTO report.

The report called on the United States to bring its measures into conformity with its obligations under the Anti-Dumping Agreement and the GATT 1994.

The US has collected a minimum bond equivalent to 10 percent of the import duties from other country's exporters, multiplied by the value of imports of shrimp in the proceeding year, since 2006. Due to the US requirements, shrimp exporters in Thailand and India reportedly incurred prohibitive costs on their sales to the US.

Among the Thai seafood exporters affected by the US demands include Thai Union Frozen Products, Charoen Pokphand Foods and Seafresh Industry. Thailand is the biggest supplier of shrimp to the United States.

According to the US National Marine Fisheries Service, the United States imported $3.9 billion of shrimp in 2007, down from $4.1 billion in 2006.

In the biggest single category, peeled frozen shrimp, accounting for one third of the total, Thailand was the biggest supplier, with nearly one third of that type, followed by Vietnam, Indonesia and India.

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