A sudden spurt in refusal of Indian shrimp exports to the US due to antibiotic residues is hampering the seafood sector. In the first five months of the current year, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) refused 39 entry lines of shrimp for reasons related to banned antibiotics as against 34 entry lines of shrimp from India during the whole of last year.
Aquaculture products constitute almost 70% of the annual seafood exports from India. The US is the largest market for Indian seafood products with a share of 26.5% in R33,000 crore revenue during FY15. Export of frozen shrimp to the US market showed a growth of about 17.49% in volume and 12.87% in dollar terms during FY 15.
US-based association called Southern Shrimp Alliance (SSA), which is fighting for higher tariff on Indian shrimp imports to the US market, reports that FDA would be inspecting more imported seafood items in 2016. Overall, FDA seafood refusals are up 30% compared to 2015 figures, SSA sources report.
The US government had recently raised the anti-dumping duty on import of frozen shrimps from India with the preliminary average duty increased to 4.89% in 10th annual review of dumping duties, compared to 2.96% in ninth review which covered February 1, 2013, through January 31, 2014.
Indian seafood exports to the US were recouping its losses suffered due to the punitive tariff imposed by US department of commerce in 2004 with the help of vannamei shrimp production which is cheaper than the traditional black tiger.
The effect of the anti-dumping duty from 2004 was dramatic on Indian exports. Indian shrimp exporting companies to the US fell to less than 75 from 228 at the time of imposition of the punitive duties.
Coalition of Gulf Shrimp Industries, an association of shrimp farmers, has been fighting aquaculture shrimp imports into the US claiming that artificially low-priced imported shrimp from seven countries including India have suppressed and depressed domestic prices, eroded domestic sales, destroyed US jobs and eliminated the operating margins of domestic producers.