For nearly ten years, the American Shrimp Processors Association (A.S.P.A.) and its members have engaged in a critical battle against unfair trade in the shrimp industry. A.S.P.A. has worked to level the domestic playing field beginning with the anti-dumping case in 2004 to combat shrimp imports sold at less than fair value, and continuing through 2013 and the countervailing duty case to address hundreds of millions of dollars in illegal government subsidies to foreign shrimp producers.
A.S.P.A. has not been in this fight alone. A.S.P.A. has relied upon the dedication and support of its Congressional ally, Senator Thad Cochran (R-MS), to save the domestic industry from certain economic implosion.
A.S.P.A.’s Congressional ally not only supported the two critical anti-dumping and countervailing duty trade cases, but worked diligently behind the scenes to achieve needed relief for the industry. For example, Senator Cochran co-authored a letter in September 2010 leading to the release of nearly $14.4 million in anti-dumping duties withheld from distribution to the industry.
The release of the funds was absolutely critical to help the industry survive in the wake of the April 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil disaster that had a devastating economic toll on the industry. Senator Cochran likewise offered live testimony in February 2011 at the sunset review of the anti-dumping orders on imported shrimp. His testimony helped retain the orders that continue to impose discipline on unfairly traded shrimp.
The US shrimp industry supports approximately 2,050 jobs in the processing sector alone, in addition to the thousands of fishermen who carry on the culture of harvesting the Gulf of Mexico’s bounty. In 2012 the processing sector had close to $600 million in sales. Without strong leadership in Washington, DC this critical industry, along with numerous other seafood sectors, is in jeopardy of being destroyed by unfair trade. Just as the US continues to lose generations of jobs in the manufacturing sector the agriculture sector remains vulnerable and on the precipice of collapse. A.S.P.A. salutes its Congressional ally and the continued unwavering support he provides to help the domestic shrimp industry survive.