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Crawford: Commerce Department Ruling Will Reverse U.S. Catfish Industry Decline


Location: Washington, DC

Today, Congressman Rick Crawford (R-AR) welcomed news for the U.S. Catfish industry after the Commerce Department issued their final results of the 8th Administrative Review of the antidumping duty order on Certain Catfish Filets from Vietnam. The results indicate that Vietnamese catfish will face fair antidumping duties when imported into the domestic U.S. market. For years, the Commerce Department has been unfairly assigning a near-zero antidumping duty on Vietnamese Catfish, which has led to unfair competition, and a flood of Vietnamese imports. Since 2008, Vietnamese imports of catfish fillets have tripled, and have taken nearly 80 percent of the domestic market. The Department decided to switch from a Bangladeshi surrogate value to Indonesian price index for calculation of antidumping duties.

In a February 5, 2013 letter to the Commerce Department, Crawford urged that:

"…the Department turn to the Philippines or Indonesia for determining the surrogate value because each of these countries is qualified and has better data available..."

Crawford issued the following statement after hearing the welcome news:

"For too long, the Arkansas catfish industry has faced unfair competition from non-market economies, such as Vietnam. I am pleased to hear that the Commerce Department heeded my call to assign a fairer price calculation to the value of Vietnamese Catfish. This is a win for the U.S. Catfish industry and the Delta region in the First District of Arkansas. I am confident that the Commerce Department's decision to fairly enforce our trade laws is a great first step towards a U.S. catfish industry recovery that will create jobs and grow the Delta economy."

Over the past decade, Arkansas has seen more than half of catfish farming water acres disappear, partly due to unfair competition with Vietnam - among other non-market economies. The U.S. catfish industry largely exists in the Mississippi Delta region.

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