China's Seafood Tariffs - Not Just Alaska

Sen. Murkowski tells Trump administration that trade assistance is no substitute for trade itself.

IntraFish - September 2018


“First of all, you’re right. It’s not just Alaska” - Ambassador Robert E. Lighthizer

Concern over the simmering trade war between the United States and China is growing in Alaska.

During the July Commerce Justice, and Science (CJS) Appropriations Subcommittee hearing, US Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) questioned Ambassador Robert E. Lighthizer on the administration’s plans to ensure US trade policy allows seafood producers to thrive, citing China’s recently announced 25 percent tariff on American seafood imports.                                   

“It has clearly rattled my state, “Murkowski said of the tariff.

“Our seafood industry is the number one private industry in terms of the jobs and the economic opportunity it brings.”

Murkowski said that in 2017, about 40 percent of Alaska’s salmon exports went to China, and over the last five years, about a half of Alaska’s salmon has been exported to China.

Additionally, 54 percent of the state’s cod exports last year went to China.

“So, this is very, very significant to us,” said Murkowski. “We’re still trying to figure out what exactly this means not only to our fishermen, but to the processors, the logistics industry – all aspects of the seafood supply chain. And then the 10 percent retaliatory tariffs that were announced just last month put even more pressure on our seafood processors because many of our fish and shellfish that are harvested in the state are then processed in China before reimporting back to the US for domestic distribution. So, in many ways were looking at this and it is in effect, imposing a 10 percent tax on our own seafood. Which is just a tough one to reconcile.”

The senator questioned Ambassador Lighthizer about the administration’s plans to ensure US trade policy allows seafood procedures to thrive, specifically asking how can the administration can give that assurance to the seafood industry that is not only critical to Alaska, but to many of our coastal states.

“First of all, you’re right. It’s not just Alaska,” said Ambassador Lighthizer.