US rolling back sops won't hurt Indian shrimp exports: MPEDA

Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA) has allayed fears about the impact of the United States lifting concessions to India under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) on shrimp exports.

MPEDA feels the withdrawal of concessions by the US, a leading market for Indian seafood exporters, will not roil them as most of the marine food products, including high-in-demand shrimps, enjoy ‘zero tariff’ under the current GSP regime.

“There is a widespread apprehension that the US decision will affect the seafood exports from India to America, which is a major importer of our marine products. But such apprehension is unfounded,” K S Srinivas, chairman, MPEDA said in a statement.

MPEDA made a detailed analysis and found that there would not be any immediate setbacks anticipated due to the withdrawal of GSP benefit in seafood exports, he added.

“The exports of prepared and preserved shrimps and crab to America will not be adversely affected as these enjoy zero tariff at present under the GSP regime,” Srinivas pointed out.

India usually exports seafood worth $2,300 million to American market with frozen shrimp as the flagship item of exports. The frozen shrimp is exempted from tariff and is not covered under the GSP regime.

“Moreover, exports of other items such as frozen fish and frozen cephalopods are also not currently benefited under the GSP. Hence, the withdrawal of GSP will not affect our seafood exports to US,” he noted.

In FY2018, India shipped 1.37 million tonnes of seafood that earned $7.08 billion (or Rs 45,106.89 crore), with frozen shrimp and frozen fish continuing to be the principal export items. US, the leading destination for Indian seafood in value terms, imported seafood worth $2,320.05 million.

The overall export of shrimp during 2017-18 was 5, 65,980 tonnes in volumes, valued at $4,848.19 million, with the US continuing to be the largest market (2,25,946 tonnes) for frozen shrimp and accounting for 53 per cent of total Vannamei shrimp exports. Frozen shrimp was the principal item of exports to the US with a share of 95.03 per cent in dollar value.

The GSP scheme, launched in 1974, aims to assist developing countries in increasing their exports by facilitating duty-free entry for thousands of products from designated beneficiary countries.

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