U.S. Senator Richard C. Shelby (R-AL) today expressed renewed concerns to U.S. Commerce Secretary Donald Evans regarding low shrimp prices. In a letter to Secretary Evans, Senator Shelby asked the Commerce Department to investigate whether foreign shrimp is being imported and sold on the domestic market in a manner that violates U.S. trade laws.
"Many of my constituents in Bayou LaBatre earn a living in the shrimp business." said Shelby. "The current situation of the Alabama shrimp industry warrants a prompt investigation into allegations of dumped shrimp. The Commerce Department should initiate an investigation swiftly, without requiring Alabama shrimpers to go through a lengthy petition process."
A copy of Senator Shelby's letter is attached:
Secretary Donald Evans
Department of Commerce
1401 Constitution Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20230
Dear Secretary Evans,
In the time since I wrote to the Commerce Department urging an investigation of the possible dumping of imported shrimp into the United States, I have learned that Commerce officials have taken the position that your department cannot initiate an investigation until it receives a formal petition from the shrimping industry. It is my understanding, however, that there is both statutory and regulatory language that gives the Department of Commerce authority to self-initiate an anti-dumping investigation. 19 U.S.C. 1673a, 19 CFR § 351.202 (2002).
I have been told that despite the above cited authority, the Commerce Department has a policy of not self-initiating an anti-dumping investigation. I believe that such a policy is extremely unfair to my constituents as it forces them to go through a lengthy petition process in order to get relief from low priced imports that they feel are being imported illegally. These constituents in Bayou La Batre, Alabama need an investigation sooner rather than later. I therefore urge your department again to investigate the allegations of dumped shrimp and to take appropriate action if there is evidence of illegally imported shrimp.
I thank you for your assistance. If you have any questions regarding my request, please feel free to contact me.