WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA), stood up for Louisiana shrimpers today during a Senate Finance Committee hearing with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer. Cassidy requested action to address foreign countries dumping government subsidized shrimp in the U.S. market, which drives down prices and hurts domestic producers in Louisiana.
Cassidy secured Lighthizer’s commitment to further pursue possible action to address dumping of foreign shrimp in U.S. markets.
An excerpt from Cassidy’s questioning is below:
CASSIDY: One thing that is important to my state, which has not yet been discussed, is India importing shrimp. And since the EU has put phytosanitary restrictions upon Indian shrimp, they are flooding the US market which is negatively impacting domestic producers.
Now if it was fair trade, that would be fine, but they subsidize it, as you know, they subsidize their aquaculture, and so that subsidy with the restrictions ends up disadvantaging our folks disproportionately. I will note, if EU finds their shrimp unsanitary, I’m a little reluctant to have that shrimp in our state for health reasons, but that is almost a side issue.
So with that kind of preamble and knowing that USTR just announced the termination of India’s GSP status last week, what additional authorities would the administration consider or feel as if it needs to address this shrimp dumping issue?
LIGHTHIZER: Well I’m generally aware of the problem with shrimp. We have laws in place, as the senator knows, that you can bring cases that, the industry has availed themselves of them at the Department of Commerce on anti-dumping, but also more importantly in the case of India countervailing duty cases in the event that you can show injury. And in this case there’s a history where the shrimp industry has been able to show injury.
If the senator has specific ideas I’m happy to go forward. Generally in a situation like this you’re better off bringing litigation. As you know well, I brought a lot of this litigation over the years and it’s a very effective remedy to actual subsidies. In this case, I don’t know anything about the sanitary issue. I’m happy to raise that whether the Department of Agriculture, which I think has jurisdiction over that, and I’m happy to do that and I will do it to see whether there was some avenue that’s being overlooked…