Indian seafood exporters to boost business in Europe, Japan

Friday, 26 March 2004, 08:00 Hrs
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KOCHI: Indian seafood exporters are moving to strengthen business in the vast European and Japanese markets to offset the impact of an anti-dumping case filed against them in the US.

US emerged as the single largest market for Indian marine products in value terms during the fiscal year 2002-03, relegating Japan to the second position.

But as export of seafood products to the US ceased from last month in the wake of the anti-dumping case filed in the US, Indian exporters are renewing efforts to boost their business in Japan and Europe.

"Japan and European markets were always our mainstay until US started importing our seafood," said Abraham Tharakan, president of Seafood Exporters Association of India (SEAI).

"Price of unprocessed seafood have come down by almost 15 percent here, but the industry is surviving because of exports to our traditional markets in Japan and Europe," Tharakan told IANS.

The US International Trade Commission last month gave preliminary approval to impose anti-dumping duties on shrimp imports from India, Brazil, China, Ecuador, Thailand and Vietnam, saying large-scale imports is hurting the local industry.

USITC has voted 6-0 that the domestic shrimp industry has suffered due to imports of frozen and canned warm-water shrimp. A preliminary Commerce Department verdict on imposing anti-dumping duty is expected by June 8.

The consumption of shrimp in the US has reportedly gone up significantly in recent months and as a result the US market is flooded with imported seafood. As much as 84 percent of the total seafood consumption in US is imported.

Tharakan said the US Department of Commerce has selected three respondents each from all the countries, on which it proposes to slap anti-dumping charges, and have send them a detailed questionnaire.

The companies that have been selected from India are Hindustan Lever, Devi Fisheries and Nikanti Exports.

"What we have been given to understand is that the weighted average of these three companies would be the duty that Indian seafood exporters to US would have to pay. The final verdict is expected to come by end of July," said Tharakan.

George Ninan of Baby Marine exports, a leading seafood exporter in Kerala, said his business had taken a beating as a result of the temporary closure of the US market for local seafood companies.

"More and more players are now going to the Japanese and European markets with their products," said Ninan.

The total export of marine products had shown an increasing trend in 2002-2003. Seafood exports increased from 424,470 tons in 2001-02 to 439,943 tons last year, while the increase in value terms was $1,254 million to $1,407 million.

Source: IANS
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