Shrimp Importers Claim Department of Commerce Erred When Calculating Tariffs

Twelve foreign producers and importers of frozen shrimp between India and the United States, including Z.A. Sea Foods Private Limited, filed a complaint in the Court of International Trade on Thursday accusing the United States of altering records, charging additional anti-dumping tariffs, and breaching the Tariff Act of 1930. 

The complaint cited Final Results published in the Federal Register on December 29, 2020. The companies purported that the United States ignored sales information from the plaintiffs and used its own data instead to calculate an anti-dumping tariff. 

The plaintiffs explained that following a 2019 amendment to the Tariff Act, they received notices of administrative review for the time period between February 1, 2018, and January 31, 2019. Reportedly, the United States Department of Commerce, rather than reviewing all producers and exporters of frozen shrimp, decided to examine the two largest shrimp producers from India, however, the requests for administrative review were withdrawn in July 2019. 

In August 2019, two new respondents were chosen, Z.A. Sea Foods and another company which reported no shipments of shrimp during the time period, thus, Z.A. Sea Foods was the only respondent. The company answered the questionnaires it was sent and the Department of Commerce reportedly “determined that the aggregate volume of ZA Sea Foods’ home market sales was insufficient to permit a proper comparison with U.S. sales of the merchandise”; instead, it compared the results with a “constructed value.” 

Thursday’s complaint reported that the Department “changed the weighted-average margins from those presented … and assigned all Plaintiffs a final review-specific dumping margin of 3.06%.” 

The shrimp producers asked the court to declare that the findings of the Department of Commerce are unsupported and breach the Tariff Act, and remand the issue back to the Department for a recalculation of the anti-dumping duty margins.