CBP Formally Initiates Evasion Investigation of Imports of Shrimp from Minh Phu Seafood

On Tuesday, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) formally notified MSeafood Corporation, a California-based seafood importer, that the agency had commenced a formal investigation under the Enforce and Protect Act (EAPA) to determine whether the company had evaded the antidumping duty order on certain frozen warmwater shrimp from India through its imports of shrimp into the United States.

In July of last year, the Ad Hoc Shrimp Trade Enforcement Committee, a coalition of shrimp industry members and commercial fishing industry organizations, submitted an allegation to CBP setting out its belief that MSeafood was evading the antidumping duty order on Indian shrimp. The allegation argued that MSeafood’s parent company and shrimp supplier, the Minh Phu Seafood Corporation, along with its affiliates, Minh Qui Seafood Co., Ltd., Minh Phat Seafood Co., Ltd., and Minh Phu Hau Giang, were importing shrimp from India into Vietnam for the purposes of transshipping it to the United States.

CBP evaluated the evidence submitted along with the allegation and found that the standard for initiation of an EAPA investigation had been met. Specifically, CBP found that the information provided “reasonably suggests” that goods that would otherwise be subject to an antidumping duty order were being entered into the United States through evasion. CBP also conducted its own preliminary investigation of MSeafood’s shrimp imports and found additional evidence corroborating the substance of the allegations.

Based on its preliminary investigation, CBP further determined that the standard for imposing interim measures had also been met. Accordingly, CBP has enacted interim measures through which unliquidated import entries of frozen shrimp made by MSeafood after September 18, 2018 “will be rate-adjusted to reflect that they are subject to the AD order on frozen shrimp from India and cash deposits will be owed.” Further, CBP announced it was suspending liquidation for any import entry of shrimp made by MSeafood on or after October 9, 2019 and that the agency would require “live entry” for all future imports made by MSeafood, “meaning that all entry documents and cash deposits must be provided before cargo is released by CBP into U.S. commerce.”

“With yesterday’s announcement, U.S. Customs and Border Protection has once again shown that they take seriously any potential efforts to evade the payment of antidumping duties,” said John Williams, the Executive Director of the Southern Shrimp Alliance. “Much is being asked of CBP. Our industry is grateful to CBP’s leadership and to everyone within the agency that is working to stamp out trade fraud for continuing to make enforcement a priority.”

The Ad Hoc Shrimp Trade Enforcement Committee is composed of the Southern Shrimp Alliance; the Texas Shrimp Association; the Georgia Shrimp Association; the South Carolina Shrimp Association; the North Carolina Fisheries Association; Faith Family Shrimp Co. LLC; Bosarge Boats Inc.; Versaggi Shrimp Co.; Craig Wallis; Trico Shrimp Co.; Dubberly Seafood; B.F. Millis and Son Inc.; Beaufort Inland Seafood; Sea Eagle Market; Frank Parker; Robert Nguyen; Zimco Marine LLC; and Poteet Seafood.

Read U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s January 14, 2020 letter to MSeafood Corporation and the Ad Hoc Shrimp Trade Enforcement Committee here:

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