Shrimp claims over the top | Bangkok Post: opinion

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Shrimp claims over the top

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The US shrimp industry seems to operate under the following theory _ if they do the same thing, over and over, the result will eventually be pleasantly rewarding. Twice since 2004, the industry has pressured trade officials to investigate the "dumping" of frozen shrimp from Thailand, the biggest supplier of shrimp to the US. Twice they were defeated. But the persistent protectionists are at it again, hoping once again for a different result and a better life financed by huge fines against Thailand. 

Dumping is a sales tactic generally barred in international trade. Simply put, an exporter "dumps" a product when he sells it cheaper in the overseas market than at home. In a fair market, a US industry can prove a Thai group is dumping shrimp by simply comparing prices in US and Thai supermarkets. But of course everything is fair in war and international trade, and the US has brought different rules to the table.

In 2006, as part of preparations for the most recent dumping lawsuit against Thailand, the US passed the Byrd Amendment. It is fittingly named for its sponsor, the late US Sen Robert Byrd. Byrd was once a community leader of the Ku Klux Klan and never known for his friendliness to foreigners. His provision allows the US International Trade Commission to compare the price of Thai shrimp in markets in the US and Japan.

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