Seafood Trade / Tariffs
Pending Lawsuit Could Spell the End of U.S. Tariffs on Chinese Seafood Imports
Urner Barry by Ryan Doyle - May 4, 2021
A group of over 3,700 U.S. importers has taken the United States Trade Representative (USTR) to court as they look to halt tariffs on imported products from China.
The lead case which will serve as a “vanguard,” as described by Law360, was filed by Connecticut-based flooring company HMTX Industries. Massive corporations, including Walmart and Target, have also filed complaints to the CIT and are listed as plaintiffs.
According to Undercurrent News, over 20 companies in the seafood industry have joined the fray, including Bumble Bee Foods, California’s Pacific American Fish Company, Red Chamber Co. and Hawaii’s Hilo Fish Company, per Undercurrent News.
The massive list of plaintiffs is seeking refunds from Section 301 duties on $500 billion in imported products from China as a result of the U.S.-China trade war.
Certain sectors of the seafood industry have been hit hard by the Trump-era tariffs. Urner Barry market reporter Lorin Castiglione previuosly highlighted the impact that tariffs have had on the tilapia market, just one of the numerous species to be hit.
“Plaintiffs have thus sought refunds of these unlawful duties since the outset of this litigation,” a document filed by HMTX’s counsel read. “The Court should ... order Defendants to refund (with interest) any duties paid by Plaintiffs pursuant to List 3 and List 4A.”
The importers have filed thousands of related lawsuits in the case. They are challenging what they describe as “unlawful tariffs on over $500 billion in imports from the People’s Republic of China.”
Lawsuits were initially filed in September 2020 and a complaint from Bumble Bee Foods reads, “Tariffs imposed by Defendants pursuant to List 3 adversely affected and aggrieved Bumble Bee because they were required to pay these impermissible duties.”
A recent injunction set forth by the plaintiffs asks the CIT to halt the government’s collection of duties in a process known as liquidation, as the case continues, Law360 reported.
“The injunction request is an outgrowth of a disagreement between the importers and the government over whether tariffs can be refunded after the government has liquidated the entries. With that question unresolved, the importers have asked the court to suspend liquidation altogether,” wrote the publication.
The aforementioned companies will see HMTX’s suit stand as the “sample case” for the court’s initial consideration and resolution of the plaintiffs’ claims, following a decision by all plaintiffs in March to put all of the suits under one roof, so to speak.
The case will be heard by the three-judge panel of United States Court of International Trade’s Chief Judge Mark A. Barnett and judges Claire R. Kelly and Jennifer Choe-Groves. A document filed on April 22 lists USTR Katherine Tai and U.S. Customs & Border Protection Senior Official Troy A. Miller as defendants on the case.
The plaintiffs will be represented by a group of 15 attorneys from law firms including Alston & Bird, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld and Foley & Lardner.
More than 60 seafood organizations ask Congress to resurrect National Seafood Council
Seafood Source by Chris Chase - May 5, 2021
More than 60 leading seafood organizations have signed a letter to congress to support appropriations to resurrect the National Seafood Council in the United States.
Show Your Support for Net Recycling
Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association - May 4, 2021
Net Your Problem works to recycle fishing gear in Alaska, thereby reducing waste and resources needed to produce virgin plastic products. Bristol Bay has been a leader in sustainable fishery management for decades and produces one of the world’s healthiest proteins with relatively little environmental impact, but we can keep looking for other opportunities to affirm Bristol Bay’s position as the industry leader in environmental stewardship.
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