The United States has tightened two norms related to its shrimp imports that could hurt India’s shipments even as New Delhi and Washington try to iron out their trade issues. The US wants all fishing nets and vessels to have turtle excluding device (TED) so as to conserve turtles and also wants traceability information on imported seafood to prevent any illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.
“This is a non-tariff barrier especially when we are engaged in a dialogue to resolve our trade issues,” an official in the know said. India’s seafood export rose 22% on year to $7.1 billion in 2017-18 with frozen shrimp and frozen fish being the prime items. Of this, almost $2.3 billion or 33% of the exports were to the US. Frozen shrimp was 95% of this in value terms. However, meeting these requirements will not be a tall task though they would incur some additional cost, as per the official. TEDs are not needed in Country boats and most of India’s fishing happens through those, not large fishing vessels.
As for the traceability norms, the Seafood Import Monitoring Program (SIMP) is stated to be the first phase of a risk based traceability programme that establishes permit, reporting and misrepresented seafood from entering the US. Exporters of shrimp have to report this data. Both these norms have to be complied with by December 31, 2018. The Department of Commerce has asked exporters to declare their catch and type of boats. A team from the US is expected to visit India to familiarise exporters with these requirements soon.