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Seafood Exporters Hope Business Will Pick Up

INDIA - As the US economy begins to recover, Mr Anwar Hashim President of the Seafood Exporters Association of India (SEAI) said that early signs of economic revival and decreasing rates of anti-dumping duty hold promise for Indian shrimp exports to the US.

Anti-dumping duty had a major impact on shrimp exports to the US which plummeted from $409 million in 2003 before the duty imposition to $142 million in 2008, reports The Hindu Business Line .

This fall was despite the total US shrimp imports rising from $3.76 billion to $4.09 billion during the same period.

The position of the US fell further to just seven per cent of the Indian seafood exports by volume and 13 per cent by foreign exchange earnings.

And even this position was further undermined as the value of exports to the US fell sharply to seven per cent according to the figures available for the first six months of the current fiscal.

Now that the anti-dumping duty has hit 0.79 per cent from the levels of 10.17 per cent, the trade felt that exports could rise.

The impact of this was felt the most among the shrimp aquaculture farmers, Mr Hashim said. Almost 40 per cent of the farmers who had been cultivating black tiger along the farms of the Andhra coast have given up aquaculture farming. The recurrent disease outbreaks, anti-dumping duty on Indian shrimp exports to the US and invasion of cheaper vannamei shrimp cultivated by other South-East Asian countries in export markets were the primary cause for the farmers' withdrawal from shrimp aquaculture. And production of farmed shrimp fell sharply during the recent past.

Notwithstanding the low duty rates and early signs of economic recovery, major impediments still remain for shrimp exports to the US. Cheaper vannamei shrimp imports from competing South-East Asian countries are now flooding the US supermarkets. The high-count low priced competition has found favour with the US consumer during the recessionary period. But with the availability of pathogen-free seeds of vannamei shrimp in the Indian market, the aquaculture farmers are slowly coming back to their fish farms. There has been a growing tendency among some of them to start the new season with vannamei shrimp cultivation which requires just half the cost of the traditional black tiger.

the Fish Site Editor

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