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Shrimp Producers to Fight US Anti-dumping Petition

China's shrimp producers must get fully prepared and united to fight anti-dumping charges raised by the United States, a deputy head of a national trade and industry organization has said.

Zhang Zhibiao, deputy secretary-general of the China Chamber of Commerce of Import and Export of Foodstuffs, Native Produce and Animal By-Products (CFNA), said it was "almost impossible" for the US shrimpers to stop their lawsuit, as they had planned this petition for two years and spent several hundred million dollars on it.

Therefore, China's shrimp producers should abandon the idea of leaving things to chance and must take an active attitude to respond to this case.

On Dec. 31, 2003, the US Southern Shrimp Alliance filed a suit with the US Department of Commerce and the International Trade Commission (ITC) against farm-raised shrimp from China, Thailand, Vietnam, India, Brazil and Ecuador.

The US alliance claimed the six countries had dumped shrimp on the US market at below cost prices, triggering a plunge in the value of US-harvested shrimp from US$1.25 billion in 2000 to US$559 million in 2002.

The CFNA has called on dozens of shrimp enterprises from Guangdong, Fujian and Zhejiang provinces to hold an emergency meeting in Beijing to discuss ways to deal with the anti-dumping suit.

Shrimp producers said that it would give a heavy blow to China's shrimp industry once the US government decided to file this case for investigation.

Statistics provided by the CFNA estimated that China exported US$800 million worth of shrimp in the past year, half of which was exported to the United States.

In the first 11 months of 2003, China reported a total of US$750 million in shrimp exports.

"China has not dumped its shrimp on the US market on the whole," said Zhang Zhibiao. "It would harm American consumers' self-interests if the US government decided to take 'anti-dumping' measures in order just to protect its own shrimpers."

One Chinese shrimp producer said, "the Chinese government gives no subsidies to the shrimping industry. If we sell at below-cost prices or prices lower than in the domestic market, we can't afford it."

"In addition, the shrimp processing industry has provided nearly 10,000 job opportunities for Americans, which could be greatly harmed if imports of shrimp as raw material from other countries are restricted." Zhang added.

Zhang urged Chinese shrimp producers to stand together, instead of separately, to fight the US anti-dumping suit, for they can form a strong alliance to express the same "voice" in responding to the case so as to achieve the best results.

Chinese shrimp farmers from Guangdong, Guangxi and Fujian have given notice to the ITC, via their US lawyers, that they intend to respond to the case.

The Alliance of Guangdong's Shrimp Exporters Responding to US Anti-dumping Charges has been founded and it has employed lawyers from Beijing, Guangdong and Washington to prepare their case.

More than 20 Chinese shrimp producers from Guangdong, Guangxi, and Fujian have joined in the alliance, and the organization is considering changing its name to the South China Shrimpers Alliance.

Chinese shrimp exports are mainly from southern China. Shrimp exports are a major source of income for fishermen in coastal areas, and Guangdong is the most important shrimp producing area in the country.

Guangdong's shrimp exports to the United States are estimated at US$100 million annually, which will be "hit badly" if the anti-dumping tariffs were imposed.
(Xinhua News Agency January 27, 2004)

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