The ‘Coalition of Gulf Shrimp Industries’ of the U.S. has filed a petition before the International Trade Administration, the United States Department of Commerce (DoC) and the United States International Trade Commission (ITC), demanding the imposition of countervailing duties on certain frozen warmwater shrimps from China, Ecuador, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam. The petition makes several allegations regarding the countervailable subsidies provided in India with regard to the manufacture, production and export of certain frozen warmwater shrimp.
The petition identifies the following as countervailable subsidy programs to the shrimp industry in India: DEPB and VKGUY schemes, the Special Economic Zone programme, the Export-Oriented Unit programme, the Export Promotion Capital Goods programme, Export Financing, Export Credit Insurance, Export Credit Guarantees and Subsidised loans to the marine products industry. In addition, MPEDA subsidies/assistances for new shrimp farms, shrimp hatcheries, hatchery PCR labs, shrimp farm effluent treatment systems, organic shrimp farmers, technology upgradation for marine products, refrigerated truck and container, cold storage, insulated fish box, in-process quality control labs, construction and renovation of pre-processing centers, worker insurance, sea freight assistance have also been listed. Subsidies and assistances under the Development of Inland Fisheries and Aquaculture Scheme and the National Fisheries Development Board (NFDB) have also been mentioned.
The petition alleges that the Government of India is aggressively promoting its shrimp industry through the provision of generous government subsidies. It calls for the initiation of an investigation into the countervailable subsidies provided to the Indian shrimp industry, and to impose duties through a countervailing duty order in an amount that would offset the benefit conferred by these subsidies. The petition also asks the US Department of Commerce to include subsidies to producers of raw shrimp in India, in its investigation.
The case will proceed on two separate tracks — one at the ITC and one at the DoC. Importantly, the ITC will begin the case immediately, as it must make its preliminary determination within 45 days (i.e. by February 11). Thus, it is expected that the ITC questionnaires will be issued perhaps even on Monday, December 31st. The likely schedule at the ITC is as follows:
- ITC Questionnaires Issued December 31, 2012
- ITC Questionnaires Due January 11, 2013
- Hearing January 18, 2013
- Briefs Due- January 22, 2013
- ITC Preliminary Determination February 11, 2013
The likely schedule on the DOC side is as follows:
- Case Initiated January 17, 2013
- DOC Questionnaires Due March 5, 2013
- Preliminary Determination March 23, 2013