Alaska delegation Urges Administration’s Support for Seafood Industry Embroiled in China Trade Dispute
CNT: Commercial fishermen have been awarded disaster assistance and the processors are looking for help too to offset losses due to new tariffs .
U.S. Senators Lisa Murkowski, Dan Sullivan, and Congressman Don Young (all R-AK) sent a letter to Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue urging the Trump administration to provide relief for Alaskan fishermen and seafood processers, as it has for the domestic agriculture industry, from the devastating impacts of retaliatory tariffs inflicted on American products by China. In May, President Trump announced roughly $15 billion in aid, directed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, for domestic farmers and agriculture producers impacted by Chinese tariffs.
“U.S. [seafood] producers and their customers have absorbed costs of the initial tariff increase, but this cannot be sustained in the long-term,” the Delegation wrote. “Chinese markets are shifting from mainly U.S. product to Russian-origin salmon, pollock or other non-U.S. whitefish. Concurrently, new market growth has stopped and Alaska seafood consumption has dropped.
“Given the clear and significant impact of the current trade dispute on this broad range of Alaska fisheries and seafood producers, we strongly urge you to include Alaska fish and seafood products in the recently announced package of support for U.S. food commodities affected by unjustified retaliation and trade disruption.”
The Alaska seafood industry is responsible for roughly $5.2 billion in annual labor income and $12.8 billion in economic output.
China is the largest importer of Alaska seafood, constituting about $989 million in annual sales and more than 50% of Alaska’s seafood products. China is also the largest re-processor of Alaska seafood. In July, 2018, China imposed a 25% tariff increase on Alaska seafood products, on top of any existing tariffs.