With United States of America announcing the end of preferential trade treatment status to India, currently being extended under its Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) programme, exporters of shrimp are apprehensive that America may levy a new duty which will have a cascading effect on exports of this perishable item.
The US imported 695,723 tonnes of shrimp in 2018 and India accounted for about 35 per cent share of that. It is the largest market for Indian exporters. India seafood exports sector is valued at $7 billion.
"India is unable to export shrimps to China because of high duties imposed by the latter. If the US puts any sort of duty in addition to anti-dumping duty, after the withdrawal of preferential treatment, it will be a big setback for Indian shrimp exporters. With the levy of any new duty, the (US) market will be as restrictive as the Chinese market," said Rajen Padhi, Director General of Utkal Chamber of Commerce and Industry and a seafood consultant.
Anti-dumping duty was imposed on Indian frozen warm water shrimps since 2004-05. US did not repeal duty on Indian frozen water shrimps during the first five years and further extended it to another five years. In 2017, America had extended the levy for another five years.
If the US comes up with any new duty on Indian marine products, it will be a major blow for exporters as America has recently introduced Seafood Import Monitoring Program (SIMP) regulations for Indian shrimps. SIMP requires traceability information on imported seafood from point of capture to the point of first sale in the US in order to thwart Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing activity. It is mandatory for foreign shrimp products to be accompanied by harvest and landing data and for importers to maintain chain of custody records for shrimp imports entering the USA.
Shrimp processors in the US have been continuously accusing Indian counterparts of dumping contaminated shrimps in their country.
“We are expecting that a new duty will be there on Indian shrimps after the withdrawal of GSP. Indian exporters will lose competitiveness. Efforts should be made for capturing the worldwide markets instead of depending on one country. If US imposes any kind of levy, things in the aquaculture sector will go from bad to worse,” said an exporter.