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US policymakers seek curb on 'heavily subsidised' shrimp imports from India

Nirmalya Behera/Bhubaneswar 14 Mar 19 | 06:28 PM

After withdrawing trade concessions granted to India under the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP), policymakers in United States are insisting United States Trade Representative (USTR)  to initiate measures to curb imports of Indian shrimps which they called are heavily subsidized by the Government of India.

At a hearing before the Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday, senator Bill Cassidy emphasized  on the harm caused by a flood of Indian shrimp imports to Louisiana shrimpers in his questions to the USTR ambassador Robert Lighthizer. 

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It may be noted that US is the largest market for Indian shrimp exporters accounting for more than 30 per cent of exports. Seafood exports from India is valued at USD seven billion.

Cassidy alleged that  the imposition of strict phytosanitary controls on Indian shrimp imports by the European Union had diverted massive quantities of potentially harmful exports to the US market, according to Southern Shrimp Alliance (SSA), a US-based body of shrimp fishermen and processors.

He noted that the problem of Indian shrimp imports went well beyond the Indian government’s subsidization of its industry and asked the ambassador to consider organizing a more fulsome, comprehensive response from the administration.

The senator is also reported to have asked  Lighthizer about the steps that  might be taken by the USTR through a Section 301 proceeding or through the review of India’s eligibility for benefits under GSP program.

 Lighthizer has agreed that he would raise the issue in the context of discussions with the Indian government regarding India’s participation in the GSP program.

According to SSA, last year, the volume of India’s frozen, non-breaded warmwater shrimp imports into the US market increased by another 16 percent over the previous year, with India now accounting for 39 per cent of total shrimp import volume into this country. 

“The continued remarkable growth of Indian shrimp imports in the US market has occurred simultaneous to substantial actions taken by the European Union to prevent contaminated Indian shrimp from reaching European consumers", SSA said. 

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