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August 16, 2013

Ecuador

Will Fight Subsidy Duties

 

Attorney Warren Connelly, who represents Ecuador in the subsidy case, said the high duties placed on Ecuador came as a shock.  “Stunned, shocked, totally taken by surprise,” was how he described his reaction to the Department of Commerce’s (DOC) determination.

 

Connelly’s shock is understandable because the DOC’s determination is a complete reversal from its preliminary decision issued on May 29, 2014, when it said Ecuador would not face any new duties.  Now, the DOC is saying Ecuador subsidized its industries by a factor of 10.13 to 13.51 percent, a determination that Connelly, a partner in the Akin Gump law firm, called “inconceivable.”  “To us, we’re just mystified,” he said.

 

The DOC’s decision, Connelly said, is based on the premise that Ecuador restricts exports of fresh shrimp to the United States, which drives down prices of processed exports unfairly.  Connolly admitted that Ecuador does restrict exports of fresh shrimp, but for health and safety reasons, not to fix prices.  Further, Connelly said 98 percent of all shrimp exports from Ecuador to America are frozen, and that would be the case whether the government restrictions were in place or not.

 

Despite the DOC setting new duty rates based on its findings, the matter is not yet closed.  The International Trade Commission (ITC), also responding (as required) to the COGSI petition filed last year, is running its own investigation, to determine whether any subsidies or foreign regulations can be directly tied to financial hardship for the domestic shrimp industry.  ITC will make its final determination on September 19, 2013, and if it finds there is no hardship, the new duties could be reduced or eliminated altogether.  In a final appeal to the ITC, Connelly said he and his firm have prepared a brief on behalf of Ecuador.  “We feel like we’ve put a very strong case together,” he said.  If ITC’s decision isn’t favorable to Ecuador, Connelly said he could appeal to the USA Court of International Trade, but he said, “It’s too soon to think about that.”

 

Source: SeafoodSource.com.  Editor, Sean Murphy (smurphy@divcom.com).  Ecuador Not Giving Up on Shrimp Duties.  August 14, 2013.

 

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