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Cablegate: Thai Groups Press to Lift U.S. Shrimp Tariffs

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS BANGKOK 006693

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR EAP/MLS AND EB
COMMERCE FOR 4430/EAP/MAC/OKSA
TREASURY FOR OASIA
STATE PASS FOR US INTERNATIONAL TRADE COMMISSION
STATE PASS TO USTR FOR WEISEL, COEN

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAGR ETRD ECON TH
SUBJECT: THAI GROUPS PRESS TO LIFT U.S. SHRIMP TARIFFS

1. On October 26, about forty persons representing various
Thai shrimp farmer organizations held a press conference on
the sidewalk outside of Embassy Bangkok, expressing concern
about the outcome of the U.S. International Trade Commission
(ITC) review of anti-dumping tariffs on Thai shrimp exported
to the U.S. In November, the ITC is scheduled to complete a
"changed circumstances review" of anti-dumping measures
based on the damage caused to shrimp hatcheries by the
December 2004 tsunami.

2. After speaking to the assembled print and broadcast
media, the shrimp farmer representatives presented a letter
signed by the presidents of ten regional "shrimp farmer
clubs" to the embassy for delivery to the ITC. Text of the
letter follows:

3. Begin text:

Dear Sirs:
Diplomatic relations between the American government and the
Royal Thai government dated back more than 169 years since
1883. The relationship was further strengthened after the
World War II. Mutual assistance was rendered in all aspects
including political, economics and social responsibility.
We, the Thai people, are very concerned for our American
friends when Hurricane Katrina hit the US southern states
late August. We would assist in whatever way we could.

The tsunami that devastated Thailand's southern provinces on
December 26, 2004 had destroyed more than 30 percent of the
shrimp hatchery operations. To date, no restoration has
taken place. Damaged hatcheries are left in the same
condition as when the ITC team went to survey the area
during August 15-17, 2005. Though more than 90 percent of
the hatcheries had received monetary compensation from the
government, the amount was so small there is no way for the
operators to resume their business. Many have given up and
resort to finding works in other fields and profession.
Also, many landowners, who rented out their land to hatchery
operators, now invest to build hotel and resort on their
property. Only 10 percent of the hatchery operators are
adamant and continue to find ways to start up their shrimp
hatchery operations but to no avail.

Because of the aforementioned scenario, Thailand's shrimp
hatchery production has been way below expectation. More
than 30 percent of the shrimp fires production eliminated by
the tsunami has impacted and greatly reduce the capability
of Thai shrimp production. We, the undersigned, represent
the country's honest and hardworking shrimp farmers. We
implore the Commissioners for their sympathy and to revoke
the dumping duties on Thai shrimp. Your kind act will enable
Thailand to be able to compete fairly with other shrimp
producing countries.

We humbly submit our request for your consideration and
looks forward to receiving a just decision.

End Text.

4. Comment: The issue of anti-dumping duties on shrimp has
been a frequent topic in the press and, to some degree, is
seen by many Thais as an indicator of USG responsiveness to
Thai concerns - with some comparing the need for US
understanding of Thailand's position to the situation during
the 1997 financial crisis. PM Thaksin raised this issue with
the President in their September 19 White House meeting.
More recently, the PM's chief advisor told Ambassador Boyce
that Thailand would withdraw its ban (because of BSE
concerns) on imports of U.S. beef, but pointedly added: "and
what will you do now about our shrimp issue." It is a safe
bet that the final decision of the ITC will be front page
news here for several days after the fact.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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