Tariff dispute nets jumbo headaches for shrimpers

The Fish Site
by The Fish Site
8 May 2007, at 1:00am

US - With foreign shrimp flooding the American market, fuel prices already sky high and seafood tariffs a never-ending debate, the Louisiana shrimp industry is limping into its spring harvest.

Louisiana Shrimp Association President A.J. Fabre, on his shrimp boat in Lafitte, said a flood of foreign shrimp after 2001 drove prices way down and they have never recovered.

The Louisiana Shrimp Association and the Southern Shrimp Alliance have been wrangling since February over tariffs imposed on shrimp imports from southeast Asia and South America.

The SSA settled with foreign seafood importers to keep tariffs unchanged for now, but the LSA still wants higher tariffs to punish dumping.

The SSA, an advocacy group with members in eight states including Louisiana, criticized the LSA for pushing for a potentially lengthy review process, which could delay millions in compensation.

Since 2001, more than $100 million in tariffs collected from seafood importers have been disbursed to American shrimpers, according to the SSA. This revenue stream is now in jeopardy, the SSA claims.

The SSA claims the LSA lacks the financial resources to conduct the review. “(The LSA) is looking at 16 to 20 (foreign) law firms trying to get the tariffs down,” said John Williams, SSA executive director. “If they don’t have the resources to put into their actions, the tariffs will go down. The entire tariff is in jeopardy.”

A.J. Fabre, LSA president, said Louisiana shrimpers were left out of the negotiations on dumping tariffs, and SSA dealings with foreign shrimp importers have not been made sufficiently transparent.

Source: New Orleans CityBusiness