In this Aug. 24, 2019, file photo, a dealer at Cape Porpoise holds a 3 1/2 pound lobster in Kennebunkport, Maine. Members of the US lobster industry are hopeful a thaw in trade relations with China in 2020 could reopen one of the biggest markets in the world. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty, File) Robert F. Bukaty

ME - US lobster industry hopes new deal renews trade with China

Members of the American lobster industry are hopeful the thawing of trade relations between the U.S. and China will reopen one of the biggest markets in the world for lobsters.

China is one of the biggest export destinations for lobster, which are trapped in the cold waters of the Atlantic Ocean by American and Canadian fishermen and are worth hundreds of millions of dollars per year. But President Donald Trump’s trade hostilities with China resulted in heavy tariffs on U.S. lobster exports, and Canada took firm control of the business over the last 18 months.

Trump and Chinese officials announced a new trade agreement Wednesday that could change all that. The proposal includes purchase agreements that formalize China’s commitment to buy more American goods in some sectors, said Republican Sen. Susan Collins. Lobster is highlighted in the agricultural purchase agreement, the Maine senator added.

That clears a path for American lobster exporters to take back access to China, a market that had been growing for years, said Annie Tselikis, executive director of Maine Lobster Dealers’ Association.

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