First Administrative Reviews

In the first administrative review, Commerce exercised its discretion to the benefit of foreign companies that operate in multiple countries by ignoring the “multinational corporation provision” for shrimp exporters operating in Vietnam and China. The provision enacted by Congress is designed to prevent companies from shifting production from a country with high duties, like China, to a country with lower duties, like Thailand. The SSA challenged this decision because it allowed more than a dozen large producers/exporters in Thailand to evade significantly higher duties.
In May 2009, the Court of International Trade (CIT) upheld Commerce’s decision. Three months later, the Ad Hoc Shrimp Trade Action Committee filed a legal brief before the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit that challenges the CIT decision. In December of 2009, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit held oral argument on the appeal.
The domestic shrimp industry was represented in oral argument by Picard Kentz & Rowe LLP. The law firm, now counsel for the SSA, was formed by three former partners of Dewey & LeBoeuf that specialize in international trade, litigation, international arbitration, tax, and public policy. The firm’s attorneys have extensive international trade backgrounds, including extensive work with the U.S. shrimp industry.
The vast majority of the volume of shrimp imports subject to antidumping duties from each country except China was not subject to administrative review due to more than 100 negotiated settlements of the litigation. Companies that evaluated their risks and costs with their legal counsel approached SSA to determine if a settlement could be reached.
How did the settlements negotiated by SSA help the U.S. shrimp industry?
1. They expedited the distribution of more than $100 million to the U.S. shrimp industry under the Byrd Amendment. (None of the CDSOA/Byrd Amendment monies went to the SSA.)
2. They reduced the Southern Shrimp Alliance’s cost and risk of litigation while adding stability to the U.S. shrimp market.
3. They provided information that identifies companies that have engaged in transshipment of product through duty-free countries and supports the need for greater FDA testing for illegal substances on imported shrimp.
4. Finally, financial elements of the settlements paid by shrimp exporters provided SSA with the resources to fund a wide range of initiatives, from research to litigation to marketing, that create a better market for U.S. shrimp.

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