Chile, the world's No. 2 salmon exporter, hailed a U.S. Department of Commerce decision to eliminate anti-dumping duties on Chilean salmon from six local companies. The United States is the largest market for Chile's fast-growing salmon industry, with 29 percent of total salmon and trout exports heading there last year. "I want to express the government's deep satisfaction with the United States' elimination of the anti-dumping measures for some of our salmon exporting companies," Chile's Economy Minister Jose de Gregorio said. The U.S. slapped an average anti-dumping duty of 4.57 percent on Chilean salmon imports in 1998 after determining that producers in this South American nation engaged in the unfair trading practice, which consists of exporting goods at a price below the full cost of producing them. The ruling, which was subject to periodic review, was a response to salmon producers in the U.S. states of Maine and Washington who accused their Chilean counterparts of lowering prices to a level that made it impossible for them to compete. The United States revoked the duties entirely for six local companies, the Salmon and Trout Producers Association said. The companies are: Mainstream, Mares Australes, Tecmar, Elcosal, Cultivos Marinos and Linao. Two other companies, Pacific Star and Fiordo Blanco, had the duty reduced partially to 3.48 percent and 1.46 percent, respectively, the association said. Exports of salmon and trout to the United States totaled $240 million last year out of total salmon and trout exports of $816 million, according to the group's data. Salmon exporters expect overseas sales of the prized fish to total $950 million this year. Salmon farming has boomed in Chile during the past decade, as the fjords and inlets in southern Chile's coastal waters are ideal for cultivating the species.