U.S. Senators Katie Britt, Cindy Hyde-Smith, Colleagues Secure Victory for U.S. Catfish Producers as Commerce Department Reverses Decision Favoring Communist Vietnam

March 18, 2024

WASHINGTON, D.C., March 18, 2024 — Following warnings from U.S. Senators Katie Britt (R-Ala.) and Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), the U.S. Department of Commerce has reversed a preliminary decision that would have greatly reduced antidumping duties on imported catfish from companies controlled by the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. 

The Commerce Department action followed concerns raised by the Senators that the U.S. farm-raised catfish industry would be devastated if the Department didn’t reverse its preliminary decision pertaining to the administrative review of the antidumping duty order on U.S imports of Certain Frozen Fish Fillets from the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.

In January, Senators Britt and Hyde-Smith, along with six of their Senate colleagues, led a letter to Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo that requested her agency abandon its preliminary decision regarding catfish imports from Vietnam, arguing that it would also set precedent for the approximately 250 non-market economy proceedings involving communist governments. 

“I’m grateful to Senator Hyde-Smith for leading this effort and join her in applauding this victory for hardworking American catfish farmers and processors. This important reversal by the Department of Commerce defends our state’s and nation’s domestic farm-raised catfish markets against unfair dumping practices,” said Senator Britt. “We are proud that 33% of all catfish produced in the U.S. comes from Alabama and know that the industry is a vital part of our state’s economy. I will continue to fight for hardworking Alabamians who produce American-made food, goods, and products vital to our local communities, our state, and our country.”

“The Commerce Department actually heeded our warnings and the rescission of this review is a clear victory for the U.S. catfish industry, which is so important to Mississippi and other rural states.  It’s also a victory for American consumers, who will not be put at risk from tainted imported catfish,” Senator Hyde-Smith said. “Rescinding the review effectively reinstates the $2.39/kg antidumping duty rate on shipments of catfish from government-controlled companies in Vietnam.  With this decision, shipments from such companies, whose labor practices egregiously violate human rights and produce catfish using dangerous chemicals and drugs that severely compromise public health, will continue to be deterred.”

Federal Register notice published on Thursday indicated that the administration is abandoning the preliminary decision which would have reduced the non-market economy (NME) anti-dumping duty from $2.39/kg to $0.14/kg for all producers controlled by the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.

Senators Britt and Hyde-Smith were joined by Senators Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Bill Cassidy, (R-La.), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), John Kennedy (R-La.), and Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.) in writing Secretary Raimondo.