Jan 08 2004

SHELBY URGES COMMERCE DEPT TO ACCEPT SOUTHERN SHRIMP ALLIANCE PETITION

On December 31, 2003, the South Shrimp Alliance filed an antidumping petition with the Department of Commerce and the International Trade Commission. In light of the adverse economic impact illegal imports are having on the shrimping industry in Alabama and other southern states, U. S. Sen. Richard C. Shelby (R-Ala.) sent the following letter to Commerce Secretary Don Evans asking the Department to expeditiously conduct an investigation pursuant to the antidumping petition.

Secretary Donald Evans
Department of Commerce
1400 Constitution Avenue, Northwest
Washington, D.C. 20230

Dear Secretary Evans,

It has come to my attention that the domestic shrimp industry in eight southern states, including Alabama, has filed an antidumping suit against foreign shrimp producers in China, Thailand, Vietnam, Brazil, Ecuador and India. It is my understanding that the Department of Commerce must now determine whether there is industry support for the action. I urge you to accept the antidumping petition and to expeditiously and fairly investigate the allegations of illegal importation of shrimp into the U.S. market, in accordance with all applicable laws, rules, and regulations.

According to my constituents, unprecedented surges in imported shrimp have caused domestic shrimp prices to plummet to record lows. Such prices have made it difficult, if not impossible, for shrimpers to support themselves and their families. For this reason, I believe it is important that the Department of Commerce move quickly to examine the allegations of illegal dumping and, if sufficient evidence of dumping is found, to grant all appropriate relief.

A vibrant domestic shrimp industry is absolutely crucial to Alabama communities located along the Gulf Coast. If we continue to allow foreign shrimp to overrun the domestic market, it will without a doubt cause irreparable harm to these localities. We have already begun to see the damage surging imports have caused. Many shrimpers have fallen behind on their boat payments, while others have been forced to sell their boats outright, jeopardizing the ability these shrimpers have to provide for their families. In the face of these difficult times, the federal government must not standby idly while foreign producers continue to decimate our domestic shrimp industry.

I look forward to receiving your response to this letter and thank you in advance for your personal attention to this important issue.

Sincerely,



Richard C. Shelby