Sunday, August 20, 2017 - 7:39:03

US Senate votes to end catfish inspection programme

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Illustrative image (Source: vneconomy)

Washington DC (VNA) - The US Senate has approved by 55 votes to 43 a bill that would repeal the US Department of Agriculture (USDA)’s catfish inspection programme.

The vote took place on May 25, with bill supporters, including Republican Sen. John McCain, arguing that the USDA programme is wasteful, duplicative and unnecessary.

Supporters said the programme violated commitments to the World Trade Organization (WTO) and would result in a lawsuit that will cost the US agricultural exports.

They criticised its intention to protect US catfish producers by raising barriers for catfish imports from Vietnam and other nations.

The resolution still needs the House of Representatives’ approval and President Barack Obama’s signature to take effect.

Reacting to the vote, the Wall Street Journal’s front page featured an article called “Ending the Catfish Fight”, which said repealing the programme would consolidate confidence in the US ‘s leadership role in Asian trade.

Catfish is a popular fish in the US, with the market dominated by local producers mostly from southern states such as Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana and Alabama. In recent years, they have been rivaled by cheaper Asian imports.

In 2008, to protect domestic production, the US Congress created the inspection programme, which includes anti-dumping duties targeting Vietnam’s tra and basa fish.

On December 2 2015, the USDA tightened catfish-related regulations. Observers said these regulations would affect both foreign and domestic producers and would cost the local industry millions of dollars.

On December 9 2015, two senators, John McCain and Kelly Ayotte, introduced a resolution of disapproval under the Congressional Review Act to nullify the USDA's catfish inspection programme.-VNA
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