US: could a USD 100 million anti-dumping settlement become a fisheries subsidy?

Recently US media reported that the Southern Shrimp Alliance (SSA) had sought to end anti-dumping tariffs on Thai shrimp in exchange for a cash payment estimated at $100 million or more to be distributed among U.S shrimp producers.

Actually it seems that the initiative for such settlement came from Thailand, eventhough it is not clear whether the initiative came from the Thai authorities, from the Thai exporters or from both.

The SSA maintains that said that eliminating the anti-dumping duties in exchange for the settlement is the best option for the industry as the punitive import duties will be subject in to the so-called “sunset review”, i.e. a re-examination of the anti-dumping duties before they come to an end.

Should the outcome of the review be that there is no need for further anti-dumping duties then US shrimp harvesters will be fully exposed (again) to foreign competition.

But perhaps more interest is the fact that, even if anti-dumping duties would be extended after the sunset review, U.S. shrimpers would not be able to get the proceedings of moneys collected through such duties.

A document posted in the SSA’s website explains at length how the subsidy previously received by US shrimp harvesters will be terminated soon because the Continued Dumping and Subsidy Offset Act or CDSOA program (remember the so-called “Byrd-amendment”) will be phased out and the proceeding of antidumping duties remain with the US Treasury.

As an illustration of the subsidy paid the SSA document mentions the figure of USD 106 million made available to the US shrimp industry in the year 2006.

Here is a link to the web site of the Southern Shrimp Alliance where the aforementioned document (“Domestic Industry and Thai Frozen Foods Association Submit Joint Request for Revocation of Antidumping Order on Shrimp from Thailand - Questions & Answers – 27 December 2009) can be found.

And here a link to an article from “The Daily Comet” (Lafourche Parish, Louisiana) on this issue:

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