Ways & Means Trade Subcommittee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) introduced today the Customs Trade Facilitation and Enforcement Act of 2012 (H.R. 6642) to improve three vital aspects of the Customs and Border Protection mission: modernization, streamlining/facilitation, and enforcement.

The Southern Shrimp Alliance commends the efforts and leadership of Representative Charles Boustany (R-LA) for shepherding the “Preventing Recurring Trade Evasion and Circumvention Act” or the “PROTECT Act,” which combats illegal shrimp imports and the fraudulent circumvention of antidumping duties by importers of foreign shrimp, into the bipartisan H.R. 6642. The bill, which is expected to be a top priority of the Ways & Means Committee in the upcoming 113th Congress, would benefit thousands of small, family-owned shrimping businesses in the Gulf and South Atlantic regions as well as a vast array of industries throughout the country that face unfair competition from abroad.

“Thanks to the efforts and leadership of Congressman Charles Boustany (R-LA), the Southern Shrimp Alliance achieved a major legislative milestone in its efforts to combat illegal shrimp imports and the fraudulent circumvention of antidumping duties by importers of foreign shrimp. Circumvention of the antidumping orders on shrimp has had a terrible impact on the U.S. shrimp industry,” stated John Williams, executive director of the Southern Shrimp Alliance. “I expect this seminal legislation will be a game changer for our friends at CBP who work tirelessly to enforce our US trade laws every day of the year.”

The U.S. treasury has lost billions of dollars in uncollected duties on unfairly traded imports because of a wide variety of circumvention schemes. For example, CBP estimated that the misclassification of shrimp as a product excluded from the antidumping duty orders resulted in the evasion of $132 million in antidumping duties.

The PROTECT Act substantially strengthens the ability of CBP not only to investigate and prosecute those instances where circumvention of US statutory protections for the shrimp and other industries has occurred, but to prevent such fraudulent evasion from happening in the first place before damage to US industry is done. It was originally introduced by Louisiana Congressmen Boustany and Richmond (D-LA) on May 10, 2012, and Congressman Boustany took the leadership role in advancing the legislation as a Member of the Committee. The inclusion of this legislation in the Committee’s larger CBP authorization bill demonstrates the firm commitment of the Committee’s majority leadership to moving this bill forward towards enactment and to effect some major improvements to the ability of the federal government to combat illegal trade.

“On behalf of all US shrimpers, I want to express my profound appreciation to Congressman Boustany and Richmond as the original authors of this pivotal PROTECT Act, and to Ways & Means Trade Subcommittee Kevin Brady for his extraordinary leadership and clear vision in introducing the ‘Customs Trade Facilitation and Enforcement Act of 2012’,” said Williams.

As it has for the past 18 months, the Southern Shrimp Alliance will be working closely with the Committee Leadership to secure timely enactment.

SSA is an alliance of the U.S. warmwater wild shrimp fishery from eight states: North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas. For more information on the SSA, please visit www.shrimpalliance.com or follow @ShrimpAlliance on Twitter.

Image courtesy Southern Shrimp Alliance

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