Today, Congressman Walter B. Jones (NC-3) supported Eastern North Carolina shrimpers' call for penalties against illegally subsidized foreign shrimp. The U.S. Department of Commerce has found that shrimp from Malaysia, China, Ecuador, India and Vietnam are benefitting from illegal government subsidies of between 5 and 55 percent. To address this problem, U.S. shrimpers have brought a trade lawsuit before the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC). The ITC held a hearing on the case today in Washington, DC.
Congressman Jones and 11 of his congressional colleagues submitted testimony for today's hearing which highlighted how illegal subsidies allow foreign producers to sell their product below market rates. This has severely damaged the U.S. shrimp industry by reducing prices to the point that shrimpers in the East and Gulf Coast regions are struggling to cover the cost of production. To provide relief from the illegal subsidies, Congressman Jones and his colleagues called on the ITC to impose duties on shrimp from the offending countries. The ITC is scheduled to make a final determination on the matter on September 19th.
"The shrimp industry is a source of much-needed jobs in Eastern North Carolina and throughout the southern United States," said Congressman Jones. "The American government should not stand by and watch as domestic producers are unfairly put out of business by illegally subsidized imports."