US importers: Consumers will lose as shrimp prices will rise : May 30, 2013
New duties threaten shrimp’s place as America’s favorite seafood.
Drew Cherry , John Fiorillo : IntraFish
Consumers could ultimately have to pay luxury prices for the shrimp they now get at value prices, say US importers reacting to Wednesday’s announcement of countervailing duty rates on US shrimp imports from seven leading importing nations.
“I think the way the price of shrimp is today it’s going to eventually hurt the shrimp business. I think it is going to make shrimp into a luxury item again rather than a standard item that you’d go into a retail store and buy or a restaurant and buy,” Tom Mazzetta CEO of the Mazzetta Company, a leading US shrimp importer, told IntraFish.
Nate Torch, vice president at Illinois-based Central Seaway, told IntraFish importers will feel the pinch in the short-term, but the market will eventually adjust to the higher prices. Ultimately, shoppers will take the hit.
“It’s just more cost, and it ends up hurting consumers in the end,” he said. “People are looking for roadblocks to trade, and good companies suffer.”
The National Fisheries Institute (NFI) echoed Torch and Mazzetta’s sentiments.
“Unfortunately, the loser in all of this is the American consumer,” said Gavin Gibbons of the National Fisheries Institute (NFI). “The price of shrimp, the country’s most popular seafood item, will undoubtedly go up for families. There is and always has been a clear difference in markets for fresh, wild caught shrimp and frozen, farmed shrimp. The current ruling does nothing to change that and provides no benefit to the consumer, it only costs her more. ”
And the pain could spread to importing companies themselves, said Mazzetta.
“My personal belief is it’s going to hurt the importer. It’s going to help the producer and hurt the importer.”
Jim Gulkin, of shrimp supplier Siam Canadian, told IntraFish the DOC decision was “not a game changer” for shrimp producers, and Thai, Chinese and Indian shrimp industries should fare fine.
With a 6.07 percent duty, Vietnam may have a challenging time on the US market, he said, but there is a clear loser.
“Malaysia is the only one whose determination puts them out of business as far as the US market is determined,” Gulkin said.
The US Department of Commerce (DOC) on Wednesday set preliminary duty margins ranging from less than 1 percent to 62 percent on seven countries exporting shrimp to the United States.
Based on preliminary analysis,” said Ed Hayes, the attorney representing the Coalition of Gulf Shrimp Industries (COGSI), “if the preliminary margins hold, we estimate there will be $200 million (€154.6 million) in duty liabilities per year.”