MISS. SENATORS ASK ADMINISTRATION TO ADD SHRIMP TO SEAFOOD IMPORT MONITORING PROGRAM
Miss. Senators Want Obama-era Hold Lifted on Program to Combat Illegal Shrimp Import Activities
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) are part of a bipartisan group of Senators asking the Trump administration to jumpstart a program to track illegal activities associated with shrimp imported into the United States.
The Mississippi Senators recently signed a letter to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross asking the administration to lift a stay imposed by the Obama administration that excluded shrimp from being in the Seafood Import Monitoring Program. The program was created to help track unlawful activities related to shrimp and seafood imports.
The letter asserts the program is needed to counter “the scale and scope of fraud and other illegal activities in the shrimp import supply chain.” The correspondence cites U.S. anti-dumping duties and trade law evasion, illegal antibiotics and slave labor use, and unfair government subsidies and other violations.
“We believe the Seafood Import Monitoring Program, now in its early stages of implementation by your department, promises to become an important U.S. trade enforcement tool to combat these practices that harm our U.S. seafood industry,” the letter to Ross said.
“We encourage you to take the necessary steps to lift this stay as soon as possible and restore the full enforcement of U.S. trade laws with respect to shrimp imports,” the letter stated.
In addition to Cochran and Wicker, the letter was signed by Senators Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-La.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Edward Markey (D-Mass.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), John Kennedy (R-La.), and Luther Strange (R-Ala.).
Earlier this month, the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) voted to extend antidumping orders on China, India, Thailand, and Vietnam for an additional five years. The duties have been in place since 2005. Prior to the vote, Cochran, Wicker and others encouraged the USITC to maintain existing antidumping duties that have helped the shrimp industry on the Gulf Coast compete fairly with foreign imports.
Commercial shrimp harvesting and processing production in Mississippi totaled more than 40 million pounds in 2015 and is valued at $111.5 million. The industry in Mississippi had an estimated $122.5 million direct and indirect economic impact on the state in 2015.