Cassidy, Colleagues Introduce Bills to Protect Louisiana Agriculture Against Dumping from China, India
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA) today introduced two bills to protect Louisiana rice and shrimp against China and India’s dumping of cheap shrimp and produce into U.S. markets. The Prioritizing Offensive Agricultural Disputes and Enforcement Act and the India Shrimp Tariff Act will both protect the Louisiana agricultural industry while ensuring that food that appears on U.S. store shelves meets U.S. health standards.
“When you eat seafood gumbo, you expect the shrimp and rice to be grown in Louisiana with our health standards,” said Dr. Cassidy. “Americans’ health should not be harmed because some countries have chosen not to play by the rules. Bringing China and India into compliance will level the playing field for Louisiana shrimpers and the food they produce.”
The Prioritizing Offensive Agricultural Disputes and Enforcement Act establishes a joint task force on agricultural trade enforcement led by the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR). The task force will more proactively monitor upcoming Chinese industrial subsidies, rather than waiting to react after subsidies are in place. The bill will also require the task force to report recommendations to Congress to deal with unfair subsidies they identify.
Cassidy was joined by U.S. Senators Joni Ernst (R-IA), John Boozman (R-AR), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), Roger Wicker (R-MS), Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) in co-sponsoring the bill. The bill is also supported by the USA Rice International Trade Policy Committee.
“We appreciate Senator Cassidy and his colleagues for leading in the Senate on this critical issue for the U.S. rice industry. A WTO case against India’s rice subsidies is long overdue and long-term policy changes in India would help to make rice farmers from the U.S. and other origins that play by the rules, more competitive on the world market,” said Bobby Hanks, Chair of the USA Rice International Trade Policy Committee and CEO of Supreme Rice.
The India Shrimp Tariff Act raises U.S. tariffs to be equivalent to subsidies received by the Indian shrimp farming industry. India is the world’s top shrimp exporter, accounting for roughly 40 percent of U.S. shrimp imports, largely due to massive state subsidies. The bill is supported by the Louisiana Shrimp Association, the Louisiana Shrimp Task Force, the American Shrimp Processors Association, and the Southern Shrimp Alliance.
“Forty percent of imported shrimp in this market comes from India,” said John Williams, the Executive Director of the Southern Shrimp Alliance. “India isn’t the dominant supplier because it is better at farming shrimp then the rest of the world. Rampant use of banned antibiotics in their aquaculture, tolerance for forced labor practices in their peeling sheds, and substantial export subsidies awarded by the Indian government are killing this market. American consumers and the U.S. shrimp industry deserve better and we are grateful for Senator Cassidy’s leadership in tackling this problem.”
“We wholeheartedly support Senator Cassidy’s effort to deploy import tariffs on Indian shrimp commensurate with the barriers US exports face in the Indian market,” said Trey Pearson, President of the American Shrimp Processors Association. “For too long India has engaged in unfair trade practices causing economic damage to our domestic shrimp industry. We applaud this attempt to level the playing field and thank Senator Cassidy for his unwavering support for the US shrimp industry.”
“Louisiana Shrimp Association and its members appreciate Senator Cassidy’s efforts to save our industry. This is a hard fight our fishermen are living. If we’re going to save this industry, more efforts as this need to take place. Thank you, Senator Cassidy,” said Acy Cooper, President of the Louisiana Shrimp Association and Chairman of the Louisiana Shrimp Task Force.