ASPA Statement on the Public Hearing Regarding Causes of Significant Trade Deficits for 2016
WASHINGTON, D.C., May 18, 2017 – Today Dr. David Veal, executive director of the American Shrimp Processors Association (ASPA), testified before officials from the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) and the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) at a public hearing in Washington, DC to address significant trade deficits in the shrimp industry.
“For decades, our shrimp industry has faced surging imports of farm-raised shrimp produced overseas,” Dr. Veal said. “As a result, the U.S. trade deficit in shrimp is substantial and growing.”
Dr. Veal’s testimony will be considered in the drafting of an “Omnibus Report on Significant Trade Deficits,” which will be presented to President Trump by the DOC and USTR. ASPA also submitted written comments.
The U.S. trade deficit in shrimp totaled $4.49 billion in 2016. India, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Mexico, China, and Malaysia are seven of thirteen countries with which the United States ran a significant overall shrimp trade deficit in 2016. These nations are also nations being investigated in the Omnibus Report. The deficit of $3.44 billion with these nations is 77 percent of the total shrimp trade deficit. And, the deficit in shrimp from those seven countries has increased 44 percent since 2012.
“The U.S. trade deficit in all seafood was a staggering $10.5 billion in 2016, greater than the deficit in either raw iron and steel or aluminum,” Dr. Veal said in his testimony. The deficit, he added, is the result of unfair and illegal trade practices, including persistent dumping in the U.S. market and subsidization by foreign governments.
On May 2, the International Trade Commission unanimously voted to extend the current antidumping orders on shrimp from China, India, Thailand and Vietnam for an additional five years. Those orders provide important discipline in the market, Dr. Veal testified, but have limited coverage and still allow large volumes of unfairly traded shrimp to enter the United States.
“Unfairly traded imports have distorted trade patterns and hindered the growth and future stability of the domestic industry,” Dr. Veal said.
ASPA is currently pursuing a policy agenda to help restore domestic job growth and promote balanced trade, and is optimistic those concerns will be addressed in the Omnibus Report presented to the President.
The American Shrimp Processors Association, based in Biloxi, Mississippi, was formed in 1964 to represent and promote the interests of the domestic, U.S. wild-caught, warm water shrimp processing industry along the Gulf Coast with members from Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida. A collective voice of the industry, the ASPA’s focus is to promote the interests of shrimp processors, other segments of the U.S. domestic wild-caught shrimp industry and the general public.