Himalayan News Service

Thiruvananthapuram, January 19

A two-member delegation representing seafood exporters from India is in the US to hold talks on the move to impose an anti-dumping duty.

Seafood Exporters Association of India (SEAI) president Abraham Tharakan and the Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA) secretary Jose Cyriac will meet officials from the US International Trade Commission and the Department of Commerce Tuesday.

The meeting is being described as a "final round of talks" by the Indian groups on the likelihood that two US-based groups, including the Southern Shrimp Alliance, would approach the courts for imposing duty on import of seafood products from countries like India, Thailand, China, Vietnam and Ecuador.

Sandu Joseph, secretary of SEAI, said if the talks failed "we would be filing our case in the US to fight the new law on anti-dumping".

"Our president was in US last October and has already had preliminary talks with legal firms to take up the case for the association. If the two US organisations go ahead in filing the case for imposition of anti-dumping duty, then we too would fight the case," Joseph told IANS.

According to reports, the consumption of shrimp in the US has gone up drastically. As a result, the US market is flooded with imported seafood — as much as 84 per cent of the total seafood consumption in the US is imported. If the case is filed, it could seriously affect the fortunes of the seafood industry as the US has emerged as the single largest market for Indian marine products during 2002-2003.

The total quantity of seafood exports increased from 424,470 tonnes in 2001-02 to 439,943 tonnes last year, while the increase in value terms went up from $1.2 billion to $14.07 billion.