SHRIMP TARIFFS GO INTO EFFECT. Mark Antokas

08/09/04

INTRO: ON Wednesday, July 28th, the Commerce Department ruled, at George W. Bush's wishes, to impose tariffs on imported shrimp, six nations are affected. FSRN's Mark Antokas has the story: SCRIPT: The Tariffs go into effect immediatly on farm raised shrimp from the countries of Vietnam, China, Brazil, Equador, India, and Thailand. The Southern Shrimp alliance brought the issue up, claiming that the U.S. was a "Dumping Ground" for seafood. John Williams is a Florida shrimper and the Secretary-Treasurer of the Southern Shrimp Alliance. Roll Tape: "Well, we feel very well about the announcement on tariffs on all six countries....of course Vietnam and China are the first two and then cam the other four last week and we welcome that decision...we are very pleased....we're not dissapointed but this is a preliminary determination. the tariffs seem a little low but we're confident that will change in our favor during the final determination which is in late December-early January." QUESTION: "How does this affect the small fisherman?" ANSWER: "It should help to Uhhh, increase our production prices....if theres a tariff put on these shrimp, it will not wind up to the consumer....but it should increase our prices....some.' QUESTION:" And how has imported shrimp affected your industry?" ANSWER: "Uhhh, theres been a flood ofimported shrimp the last three or four years, our prices have gone down sixty percent straight across the board from 2001 until now." 0minutes, 55seconds

Williams says that because of the glut of shrimp on the market, wholesale prices for natural "Wild" shrimp have suffered. Roll tape: "We are a dumping ground for seafood. Two years ago, for the shrimp we are catching now, we were getting $2.40 a pound to the boatfull. Today, they're eighty cents."

Wally Stevens of Slade-Gorton Seafood, based in Massechutsetts, is also the president of the American Seafood Distributors Association. Stevens is not pleased with the preliminary tariffs. Roll Tape: "The ehhh....Bush administration....has clearly made a poor decision relative to these preliminary judgements on taxes on imported shrimp. We export a tremendous amount of soybean products into those countries that is now at risk. It is a two wayb trade rewlationship that is being threatened by the taxes announced earlier this week." 0minutes, 31 seconds.

Mark Bernstein, spokesman for Darden Restaurants, of which Red Lobster is one along with Olive Garden, maintains that Darden restaurants have offered help to the wild shrimp industry, but could not say that natural shrimp produced in the U.S. is on the menu of all Darden Restaurants. Roll Tape: "We respect the right of domestic wild harvest shrimpers to file their petition, and um, we've been working with the domestic industry and will continue to do that, we, um, are committed to um, to buying, um, more domestic product, um, and will continue to work with the domestic industry on um, on, working on niche marketing and um, and finding new ways to market their product." 0minutes, 24 seconds

John williams, of the Southern Shrimp Alliance says not so. Roll Tape: "Well, we met with them februrary a year ago, which was roughly eighteen months ago and we talked about this and they offered to help.A year and a half later we're still waiting for their help to market this....but one of the conditions was, to drop this anti-dumping petition. They're still violating free trade laws. and we could not change that, and I wish they would re-name free trade to fair trade, cause theres no such thing as free trade because some one allways gets hurt. QUESTION: "How about Brazil? Brazil is a pretty big trade partner with the U.S. Do you think they will be angry about this?" ANSWER: "I'm sure they will be and they should be. But the fact still remains, the Department of Commerce, International Trade Commission have found out that they have violated the free trade agreements we have with them, and what they're doing is undermining the spirit of free trade through-out the whole world and it can not go on." 0minutes, 48 seconds.

According to the New York Times on July 6th, tariffs and wholesale price increases on imports could help save jobs in the South, especially in North Carolina, something the Bush administration is eager to do. North Carolina is seen as a battleground for the coming presidential election. For Free Speech Radio News, from WMNF in Tampa, this is Mark Antokas

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