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Indonesian shrimp farmers to cooperate in US probe

Publication Date : 21-01-2013

 

In response to the US’ investigation into the alleged government subsidy for Indonesia’s shrimp exports to the country, an association of local shrimp producers has said it will cooperate with American investigators.

Indonesian Fisheries Product Processing and Marketing Association chairman Thomas Darmawan said on Sunday the group would provide the necessary information and comply with any formal procedures.

“We are ready to prove that the allegation is not true and we are preparing evidence to support our argument,” Thomas told The Jakarta Post.

Currently, the value of Indonesia’s shrimp exports to the North American country is worth over US$500 million.

The US, Indonesia’s biggest destination for shrimp exports, kicked off on Friday its investigation into alleged subsidies regarding the import of a certain frozen warm-water shrimp from Indonesia, China, Ecuador, India, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam.

The scrutiny may result in the imposition of countervailing duties on $4.2 billion of annual shrimp shipments to the country.

The investigation was made based on petitions filed by the Coalition of Gulf Shrimp Industries on behalf of US domestic producers, which make up 90 per cent of the country’s production. In the petitions, they claimed the overseas producers benefited from unfair government subsidies that meant they could sell their produce at lower prices.

This meant US producers were unable to match production costs and the industry recorded operating losses last year.

The Trade Ministry’s trade safeguard director, Ernawati, said as a member of the World Trade Organisation, Indonesia would certainly be cooperative in assisting the investigation.

The US Department of Commerce is due to announce its initial findings on the request for anti-subsidy duties around March 25, with the final result expected around June 6. The US International Trade Commission (ITC) will reveal whether the US industry suffered from unfair subsidies on foreign producers on Feb. 11, Bloomberg reported.

Prior to the initiation of the investigation, 13 local shrimp exporters had submitted questionnaires sent by the ITC to determine the injury caused by the imports.

Indonesia’s representatives in Washington DC also took part in a consultative talk with the US Department of Commerce last week.

“The Indonesian government expects the investigation to be carried out in a fair and transparent manner based on accurate data and facts that will not disrupt the export of shrimp to the US,” Indonesian Ambassador to the US Dino Patti Djalal, said in a statement after the consultation with the Department of Commerce.

Indonesia’s shrimp exports to the US rose by an average of 4.2 per cent from 2007 to $559.4 million in 2011, accounting for 48.2 per cent of the country’s total shrimp exports. Between January and October last year, shrimp shipments amounted to $484 million, up 4.8 per cent from the same period in 2011, or equal to 47.3 per cent of overall exports.

According to US data, Indonesia was the second biggest shrimp exporter to the US after Thailand in 2011.

 

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