BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – Senator Bill Cassidy introduced a bill on Thursday that he said will protect the Louisiana crawfish industry.

“One, it’s our culture, two, it’s unfair,” Cassidy said.

Cassidy joins other lawmakers to introduce the China Trade Cheating Restitution Act, which according to a press release, would “direct Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to pay $38.5 million from the interest on anti-dumping duties received from Chinese imports to certain agricultural sectors harmed by China’s illegal trade practices, including $10.6 million for crawfish producers.”

“What Customs Border and Protection does is that they put tariffs or levees or fees upon the Chinese for dumping their crawfish they are by federal law supposed to share that with the crawfish producers to hold them honest. So we want the money to come, which under federal law should from those tariffs fees going to our crawfish farmers,” Cassidy said.

The bill would:

  • Require CBP to distribute under CDSOA an estimated $35.6 million in accrued delinquency interest on the antidumping duties that CBP collected and wrongfully withheld
  • Amend the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015 to move the date of interest collected by the CBP to be dispersed from October 1, 2014, to October 1, 2000, to account for substantial interest withheld by CBP beginning in 2000

The owner of Capital City Crawfish, Will Boutte, said he only purchases local crawfish. During crawfish season, he purchases roughly 16,000 pounds of crawfish a week.

“We go to four farms every day,” Boutte said.

According to Cassidy’s press release, the Chinese producers have participated in an act called “dumping,” in which crawfish is exported to the U.S. at a price below the cost of production, driving Louisiana crawfish producers out of business.

In 2000, Congress passed the Continued Dumping and Subsidy Offset Act (CDSOA) which instructed CBP to pay all collected anti-dumping duties and accrued interest to the U.S. producers injured by dumped imports. CDSOA applies to imports that entered the U.S. through September 30, 2007, but due to delays, CBP is still assessing and collecting anti-dumping duties and interest on many of these imports.

Boutte said he supports a bill that protects the local economy.

“It would help everybody in Louisiana,” Boutte said. “We need to get away from all the imports. To have our local community, all of our local fisherman supporting their families.”

At the end of the day, Boutte says nothing beats Louisiana crawfish.

“Verified Louisiana Cajun I mean that’s the best thing you can go with. Anything outside of that is… not good,” Boutte said.