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India emerges largest shrimp exporter to USA, exports increase 32%

Nirmalya Behera/Bhubaneswar 14 Feb 18 | 07:56 PM

Eclipsing 60 other countries of the world, India has emerged as the largest exporter of shrimp, a major seafood export item, to the United States of America.

US imported more than 32 per cent of shrimps it consumed in 2017 calendar year from India. Between January and December, last year, USA imported 664,119 tonnes of shrimps.

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"Lower anti-dumping duty and opening up of market by the US buyers has allowed Indian exporters to send more products to the USA. Many importers are now interested to trade directly with the exporters", said Tara Patnaik, Chairman, Falcon Marine Exports Ltd, the largest seafood exporter in country.

The trade with US is more of a programmed business where the buyers commit to take a certain amount for a year unlike the spot business adopted by other countries, he added.

USA being the top destination for Indian shrimp export, the reduced national average of anti-dumping duty for India at 0.84 per cent remains an important growth driver.

In volumes, US imported 2,13,956 tonnes during the last calendar year from India, a growth of whopping 39 per cent over 153,956 tonnes recorded in 2016. Value-wise, US imported $2.17 billion of shrimps in 2017, up by 45 per cent.

"Approximately 50 per cent of the US imports are coming from India and Indonesia alone, where the majority of shrimp are grown and harvested in farms, making them cheaper than domestic wild-caught varieties. The increasing competition from imports combined with a series of setbacks such as hurricanes and the water contamination from Deep-water Horizon oil spill led to reduction in domestic production in the US", said Ayan Paul, analyst at the CARE Ratings Ltd.

Indian shrimp processing companies have also realized tremendous benefit from technological advancements during the catastrophic learning curve experience earlier in this decade by Southeast Asia.

With the use of technology and direct engagement at the farm level to boost yields and improve sustainability, the companies are reducing the number of cases of shipment rejection, which a couple of years ago had remained a major bottleneck for exports. This has also led to increase in export to US from India, Paul added.

Care Rating also attributed the increase in exports to US to the growth in the country's overall production capacity with more untapped regions like West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, and Odisha coming online, apart from Andhra Pradesh which remained the largest producer of the shrimp in India.

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