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US shrimp producers voice support for new China tariffs, call for extension to India

'We welcome anything the Trump administration can do,' one exec tells IntraFish.

Pacific cod, Alaska pollock, shrimp, salmon and tilapia products are among an extensive list of Chinese seafood exports potentially facing tariffs of up to 10 percent as US President Donald Trump follows through on threats to step up its trade dispute with Beijing.

David Chauvin of David Chauvin's Seafood Co. in Dulac, Louisiana, told IntraFish he supports Trump's planned measures because it raises the value of imported shrimp, which could help domestic shrimp compete in what he describes as an oversaturated market.

"It’s the glut of shrimp that have prices depressed overall," he said. "We welcome anything the administration can do."

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Chauvin said, however, the tariff would have an even better impact on the US shrimp industry if it was implemented in other countries too, such as India.

"India in particular is devastating our fisheries and prices this year," he said.

The latest National Marine Fisheries Service statistics show most shrimp sized 21/25 -- the most popular shrimp category in the US -- were imported from India through May at a value of $72 million (€62 million).

"The hardest thing in this industry is we compete with countries whose monetary systems are so different," Chauvin said. "A 10 percent tariff on shrimp coming from China, it gives you a ray of hope."

Dominick Ficarino, owner of Alabama-based Dominick’s Seafood, also supports Trump's tariffs, even though they won't necessarily have an impact on his business.

"Imports hurting the domestic industry are not coming out of China today," he told IntraFish.

The move by Trump still felt like a move in the right direction because similar tariffs could be imposed on India and other competitors, he said.

Chinese goods potentially facing the new 10 percent tariffs are worth a total of $200 billion (€170.5 billion).

Alan Gibson, owner of Louisiana-based Tidelands Seafood, told IntraFish he would like to see congress also implement legislation that provides country of origin labeling for shrimp along with quotas on importers so the market doesn't get flooded.

All of the business owners agreed there is one negative outcome from the proposed tariffs so far: Higher fuel costs, which they said is currently crippling the US shrimp industry.

"We’re up 55 percent this year in fuel expenses for vessels over this time last year," Chauvin said. "That's our largest expense as far as this industry goes."

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