Lobstermen steamed over Trump’s trade war — plead for farmer-style bailout
Iowa has soybeans and corn. Idaho has potatoes. Maine has lobsters. President Trump’s growing trade war is causing headaches for all the industries — as well as American consumers —as China imposed tariffs in response to Trump’s tariffs on imports.
So Maine’s iconic lobstermen are seeing red over being left out of Trump’s $16 billion bailout of “our wonderful farmers," the second giveaway aimed at cushioning them from the damage he caused with the tariffs.
"What are we, chopped lobster?” Sen. Angus King (I-Maine) asked the Washington Post after watching Trump’s press conference flanked by farmers who will benefit from the bailout.
King is joining Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and the state’s two representatives in the House of Representatives to push a bill that would provide similar relief to lobster producers as well as some industry boosting goodies.
So far there is little sign that the trade war is hurting New Yorkers and other upscale consumers of the delicacy, a stable of summer dinners by the Atlantic shore.
Lobster producers say they just want to claw back a slice of a once-promising market that has been all but wiped out by the tariff tit-for-tat. China bought $128 million worth of Maine lobsters in 2017. Maine Coast, a lobster wholesaler in the town of York says it’s lost 90% of business in China after the tariffs went into effect.
“It took years to build those markets. You don’t recover overnight,” Sheila Adams, a marketing official at the company, told the paper.
The push may get a mixed reception on Capitol Hill.
On the one hand, Maine is a somewhat purple state where Trump snagged a crucial electoral vote by carrying one of its two congressional districts.
But any move to expand the bailout is likely to produce a flood of requests from other China-dependent industries, especially those in key swing states.