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 3 Apr 2009

US ends bond requirement on Thai, Indian shrimp

The United States has stopped requiring special bonds on shrimp imports following a World Trade Organization ruling, but is looking at other ways to collect duties on the shipments, Reuters quoted a US shrimp fishery group as saying Thursday.

US Customs and Border Protection notified the industry on Wednesday that it would end its "enhanced bonding requirement" for cheap shrimp imports that the WTO ruled against last year after complaints from Thailand and India.

"We encourage CBP to implement new measures to collect duties owed on unfairly traded shrimp imports as soon as possible," said John Williams, executive director of the Southern Shrimp Alliance, a group that represents the US warmwater wild shrimp fishery from key southern states.

US Customs began requiring India and Thailand to post bonds to cover full anti-dumping duties on imports of shrimp in 2004 after it found many importers failed to pay up once the fish was in the country.

But the WTO ruled the measure violated trade rules.

In a federal notice published on Wednesday, US Customs said it continues to explore options to address the issue.

"CBP is not abandoning its duty to protect revenue or its requirement of sufficient security," the agency said.

The case affected Thai seafood exporters such as Thai Union Frozen Products, Charoen Pokphand Foods and Seafresh Industry.

It was also of interest to Indian companies including Avanti Feeds, Uniroyal Marine Exports, Waterbase and unlisted exporters Devi Seafoods and Falcon Marine Exports.

In 2008, the United States imported 182,370 tonnes of shrimp from Thailand -- its largest supplier -- worth $1.28 billion, according to US National Marine Fisheries Service statistics.

Total US imports that year were 564 million tonnes worth $4.093 billion.




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