Members of the Salmon Trade Alliance said the duties will cut into already slim margins, but many members were also relieved that the duties will not eliminate Chilean salmon from the U.S. market. A recent analysis determined that 66 cents of every dollar U.S. consumers spent on Chilean salmon stayed in the United States.
In today's ruling, the DOC cast aside nearly all of the petitioners' allegations: The DOC determined that two of Chile's largest Atlantic salmon producers, Camanchaca and Marine Harvest have fairly traded salmon. Margins for the other three companies, Aguas Claras, Eicosal, and Mares Australes were set at 8.27 percent, 10.91 percent, and 2.24 percent, respectively. The DOC reduced the "all others" rate to 5.19 percent, which will be applied to imports from the rest of the Chilean salmon farming industry.
The eight domestic salmon producers, whose petition triggered the DOC investigation, had alleged that numerous subsidies were given to the Chilean salmon industry and that Chileans engaged in industry-wide dumping, with margins of 42 percent.
Mark Spatz, Director of the Salmon Trade Alliance, said, "The DOC's ruling continues to frustrate our members, especially those who are affected by the `all others' rate. These companies, which make up about 60 percent of Chile's production, were not investigated, yet their imports are taxed at a rate based on only two companies."
The case now goes to the U.S. International Trade Commission. The ITC has mid- July to announce whether fresh Atlantic salmon from Chile is causing injury to U.S. salmon producers.
"We fully expect that the ITC will conclude that U.S. salmon farmers are not materially injured or threatened with injury as a result of imports from Chile," Spatz said. "Prices are set by worldwide demand, production and wild catches. Chilean salmon alone is not responsible for the price U.S. salmon producers receive."
David Solomon, President of the Miami-based Aquafarms International, was surprised that the DOC found dumping margins. "I fully expected a finding of no subsidies and no dumping," said Solomon, who has worked closely with Chilean salmon producers for years. "The entire seafood industry-- from importers to transporters, distributors, wholesalers, and retailers--benefits from the free trade of salmon. The fact is, salmon sales are propping up per-capita seafood consumption in America," he said. "The seafood industry looks forward to a pro-business ruling from the ITC so that everyone can get back to growing the salmon business," he added. "The potential is unlimited."
Elaine Graham, Senior Vice President of Government Affairs and Membership for the 33,000-member National Restaurant Association said her members viewed the duties as a significant hindrance, but they are glad fresh, boneless Chilean salmon fillets will still be available. "Salmon consumption in general has almost doubled since 1990, it is now the single most common fish offered in our members' 175,000 restaurants," said Graham. "Boneless Chilean salmon gives our restaurants a chance to offer a high-quality, convenient, nutritious seafood product on a reliable basis," she said. "We hope that the ITC will make the right decision, allowing restaurants to regularly offer salmon to the American consumer."
Attention editors: The following U.S. salmon industry members are available to field calls on the DOC's decision: