Press Releases

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators John Boozman (R-AR) and Tom Cotton (R-AR) joined Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS) in claiming victory for U.S. farm-raised catfish producers and processors following the U.S. Department of Commerce’s announcement reversing a preliminary decision that would have greatly reduced anti-dumping duties on imported catfish from companies controlled by the Communist Party of Vietnam.

The Commerce Department backpedaled after Boozman, Cotton, Hyde-Smith and their colleagues as well as stakeholders raised concerns that the U.S. farm-raised catfish industry would be devastated if it didn’t reverse the preliminary decision pertaining to the administrative review of the anti-dumping duty order on U.S imports of Certain Frozen Fish Fillets from the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. 

“Catfish producers in Arkansas and their neighbors are committed to providing the fresh, nutritious and quality supply that ends up on tables around our country, but their ability to continue doing so would have been devastated if this decision had been finalized. They deserve a level playing field, and I’m pleased we have helped keep them from being undercut by an inferior and heavily subsidized product,” Boozman, who serves as ranking member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, said

“This reversal is a welcome decision, and I’m proud to have worked with Senator Hyde-Smith, Senator Boozman, and our Republican colleagues to protect Arkansas’s catfish farmers and consumers across the country,” Cotton said

“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,” Hyde-Smith said

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

In January, Boozman, Cotton and Hyde-Smith led a letter to Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo that requested her agency abandon plans to significantly reduce the duties on Vietnamese catfish imports, arguing it would also set a precedent for the approximately 250 non-market economy proceedings involving communist governments. The letter was also signed by Sens. Roger Wicker (R-MS), Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA), John Kennedy (R-LA), Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) and Katie Britt (R-AL).

Arkansas ranks as the third-largest catfish producing state. Boozman and Cotton have championed the industry’s interests on multiple occasions, including previously leading a bicameral coalition that secured approval of a Section 32 purchase of up to $42 million of catfish products by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for distribution to various food nutrition assistance programs, including charitable institutions.