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For Immediate Release
Contact:
McKnight & Company, Inc. 425-451-2922

Washington State Businesses Join Growing U.S. Protest
Against Salmon Dumping Petition

Seattle, Washington (September 18, 1997)--In a joint letter to their representatives in the U.S. Congress, three companies based in the state of Washington outlined their disagreement with the antidumping and countervailing duty petition filed this past June 12 with the U.S. International Trade Commission against fresh Atlantic salmon from Chile. The three Washington-based businesses, which import and distribute fresh Atlantic salmon from Chile to customers nationwide, include Aqua Star, Inc., Arrowac Fisheries, Inc., and Ocean Fresh Seafoods, Inc.

These three companies are charter members of a growing alliance of U.S. businesses opposed to the petition. This group, known as the Salmon Trade Alliance, currently represents nearly 50 U.S. companies and trade associations who oppose the imposition of tariffs on fresh Atlantic salmon from Chile. Alliance member organizations range in size from sole proprietors to some of the nation’s largest restaurant chains.

In their two-page letter, the principals of the U.S. companies argue that tariffs petitioners are seeking to place on Chilean salmon would hurt, not help, U.S. businesses.

"This kind of penalty would cause significant harm to a wide range of U.S. interests -- including our own," the letter states. "We do not believe that U.S. trade laws should be invoked to ‘help’ one domestic industry sector at the expense of another."

Because two of the eight U.S. petitioners are from Washington state, company officials signing the letter pointed out the importance of informing the Congressional delegation from Washington state about the size and scope of the non-petitioning businesses. The three companies collectively employ more than 140 people, significantly more than the two Washington state salmon producers who joined the petition. U.S. Senator Slade Gorton, R-Wash., has already indicated his interest in following the issue closely to make sure all constituent interests are fairly represented and heard.

The letter-writers also point out that the successful introduction of pinbone-out salmon fillets from Chile has benefited many American companies and workers: "Today, this essentially new product is distributed nationwide, where it reaches consumers at the supermarket counter, price club store, and chain restaurant."

"Companies like ours--who import, market, and/or distribute Chilean salmon products--have likewise benefited because of the successful introduction of boneless salmon fillets, a technique perfected in Chilean processing plants. The popularity of this product has expanded the overall market for salmon far beyond the ‘fine dining’ restaurant niche it once occupied. We do not want to see this success jeopardized."

The U.S. Department of Commerce is investigating the petitioners’ claims against Chilean salmon imports and the ITC will make a final determination on duties in March of 1998.