National Fisherman

NEW ORLEANS — Gulf of Mexico shrimpers have filed petitions with the federal government seeking relief from subsidized shrimp imports. The move came several weeks after Gulf of Mexico shrimpers hailed a House bill that included a provision to increase U.S. Customs and Border Protection's powers to combat illegal imports.

The Coalition of Gulf Shrimp Industries filed the petitions on Friday, which seek "countervailing duties" -- tariffs imposed to offset subsidies by foreign governments -- on shrimp from China, Ecuador, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam. The coalition states that the duties are needed "to offset the unfair trade advantage currently held by these countries."

The petitions will be investigated by the U.S. International Trade Commission and the Department of Commerce, with final determinations expected in the second half of 2013. The coalition states that the seven countries have aggressively undercut domestic prices more and more since 2009 through about $13.5 billion in subsidies for their aquaculture and seafood processing industries - with the shrimp industry the primary recipient.

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