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WTO: Thailand, India win shrimp cases


July 17, 2008

WTO: Thailand, India win shrimp cases

The World Trade Organisation's top court upheld on Wednesday the bulk of previous rulings against the United States in two cases brought by India and Thailand over shrimp imports, Reuters reported.

The Appellate Body overturned some aspects of the previous rulings in the appeals brought by Thailand, India and the United States, who had all challenged aspects of the original panel findings in February.

But it repeated the main conclusion - that the US measure in question was inconsistent with WTO rules on how to treat unfairly priced imports and should be amended.

The two Asian countries had argued that a US requirement for them to post bonds to cover the full amount of anti-dumping duties on imports of shrimp violated international trade rules.

In 2004, US Customs started to require exporters subject to paying anti-dumping duties - intended to counter the impact of unfairly priced imports - to post a bond covering the full amount as security if there was a risk of default.

Thailand Hote

The case turned on whether this was a reasonable security or an unfair burden imposed on exporters in addition to the anti-dumping duties already imposed on them.

India and Thailand argued this requirement imposed an excessive burden on exporters already paying the duties.

Thailand, the world's eighth biggest food exporter, is the main supplier of shrimp to the United States. Thai shrimp end up on the shelves of U.S. retailers like Wal-Mart Stores.

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

It is also of interest to Indian companies such as Avanti Feeds, Uniroyal Marine Exports, Waterbase and privately held exporters Devi Seafoods and Falcon Marine Exports.

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