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Doubts rise on Brazilian shrimp producers’ hope to resume exports to US

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Brazilian producers’ hope for a resurgence of shrimp exports to the US in the next two to three years received a boost from the US antidumping order removal on May 2, but many see far more obstacles in its way.

“I don’t think that exports can resurge soon, but we will look for the opportunities,” the president of the Brazilian shrimp producers association (ABCC), Itamar Rocha, told Undercurrent News.

Meanwhile, Rocha continues to oppose the Brazilian government’s liberalization of shrimp imports, a position which could keep prices high enough to leave Brazilian shrimp less of a chance in the US market.

Rocha added that Brazilian producers wanted to export to Asian countries in the future. Yet at the moment, the priority for Brazil is to meet local demand, Rocha said, noting it has the potential to increase sharply. Brazilian shrimp consumption is 1.5kg per person per year — compared with over 35kg of red meat — in a country with over 210 million inhabitants, he said.

Rocha said Brazilian producers were trying to increase local production, “facing the white spot” outbreak.

“I don’t think US imports from Brazil will change much, as the Brazilian producers have enjoyed high prices for a while and did not get very efficient,” the shrimp buyer for a large US firm told Undercurrent.

“Also, processing costs (peeling/degrading) is high, so I do not see these products coming to US, considering US does not consume much head-on,” the source added.