Customs to raise bond limits in some anti-dumping cases

Customs to raise bond limits in some anti-dumping cases

WASHINGTON -- Customs and Border Protection is raising the continuous bond amounts on food and fish imports to assure that it has sufficient funds on hand to collect anti-dumping duties against those commodities, Commissioner Robert C. Bonner announced on Friday.

"This will put us in a far better position to make sure that when anti-dumping duties are assessed, we will be able to collect a much greater percentage of those duties than has been the case in the recent past," Bonner said.

Collecting anti-dumping duties on agriculture and aquaculture has been problematic over the past two or three years, Bonner said, costing the agency $130 million in uncollectible duties from importers in 2003 alone.

Anti-dumping duties are punitive assessments that the government imposes on products that are sold in the U.S. at prices below the exporting nation's cost of production. The Commerce Department determines when to impose anti-dumping duties, Customs collects the revenue.

In most cases, Bonner said the importer posted the minimum that was required for a continuous bond, usually 10 percent of the duties. Those bonds were insufficient to cover the additional revenue that Customs demanded on liquidation of dumped goods. In a recent cases dumped garlic was at 376 percent, and imported crawfish at 201 percent of value.

Under current law commonly known as the Byrd Amendment, duties Customs collects are distributed to U.S. companies that have been harmed by unfair foreign competition. Customs distributed some $330 million it collected last year in anti-dumping cases.

Just recently the International Trade Commission determined that shrimp from China and Vietnam were being dumped on the U.S. market. However, Bonner said that the same bond amounts could be required for shrimp from other countries, including Thailand, Ecuador, and India.