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Lobster from New England. (Photo: Roberto Rodriguez CC BY-SA 3.0)

Lobster exports feel the impact of trade war with China

Click on the flag for more information about United States UNITED STATES
Saturday, August 11, 2018, 01:20 (GMT + 9)

United States lobster exports to China, amounting to over USD 142 million last year, are expected to take a big hit after the the trade war between both countries.

The Asian country has roughly doubled tariffs on live American seafood in retaliation of US tariffs on USD 34 billion of Chinese imports last month.

The Trump administration is escalating this war by slapping new tariffs and is planning to impose a 25 per cent tax on an additional USD 16 billion in Chinese goods starting August 23, CBC News reported.

With China retaliating, America's lobster industry is feeling the impact.

In June, The trump administration announced a 25 per cent tariff on Chinese goods. Beijing responded with its own 25 per cent tariff on a list of goods including live lobster. At the same time, China has lowered its tariff on Canadian lobster imports to 7 per cent, making them more attractive to Chinese buyers.

Maine lobster producers claim they can sell their products domestically but feel that the lobster industry has become collateral damage.

In Connecticut, lobster producers are also losing out on significant business as it is the case of Garbo Lobster based in Groton.

The company’s general manager Chris Brown told NBC Connecticut that last year the company shipped lobster on a daily basis but, at present, volumes are much lower so they have to really reduce the amount of drivers, reduce the amount of production staff.

Brown regrets that the US-China trade war has led to that major international market lose its appetite for New England lobster.

“We were shipping anywhere 100- to 150,000 pounds a week on a given timeframe to China,” Brown said. “However, now that has dropped down to nothing.”

For his part, the representative for Connecticut Joe Courtney visited the place where Garbo sorts its lobsters to learn more about the business the wholesale distributor is losing.

“He’s never experienced anything like this where the government is creating an added cost, I mean it’s about USD 2.50 cents a pound of extra cost selling into China for US lobster,” Courtney said.

Brown highlighted that Canadian companies are benefiting after China lowered traffic on lobster imports from the United States’ neighbour to the north.

“I would ask (President Trump) to consider more free trade opportunities and to be able to compete in the seafood industry in really markets across the board,” Brown concluded. 

Related articles:

- Louisiana shrimp industry supports tariffs on Chinese imports
- Further seafood products to be affected by tariff war with China
- China to spare US seafood imports for re-exporting from tariffs


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