The administration of U.S. President Donald Trump has launched a trade investigation to evaluate the effect of Canada’s overall lobster trades on the U.S. lobster industry.
It’s the latest election-year overture focused on Maine, where lobster, esteemed at $468 million US in 2019, is the state’s largest export. It is likewise where Republican Sen. Susan Collins and Trump are following in the surveys.
On Aug. 24, the United States International Trade Commission reported it will explore the conceivable negative impacts of the Canada-Europe Trade Agreement (CETA) on American lobster exports.
The investigation was requested by U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer. The investigation will likewise analyze tax treatment of Canadian lobsters in the United Kingdom, China and different countries.
“We don’t know what it implies,” said Geoff Irvine, leader head of the Lobster Council of Canada.
“We’re studying it. The government of Canada is studying it. Now we’re talking to our colleagues in the U.S. and we’re trying to figure out how best to manage it from the Canadian side.”
The situation has the attention of the federal government.
“We are aware of the USITC announcement and are closely monitoring new developments,” said Global Affairs Canada spokesperson Patricia Skinner in an email statement.
The trade investigation was launched three days after the European Union eliminated an eight per cent tariff on U.S. lobster, sweeping away an advantage enjoyed by Canadian fishermen under CETA.
It was a major win for Maine’s lobster industry and for Trump, who had demanded European tariff relief two months earlier.
Trump visited Maine in June, where he held a roundtable with the fishing industry and announced he was reopening the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument off the New England coast to commercial fishing.
Last week, a Maine lobster fisherman was a featured speaker at the Republican National Convention, where Jason Joyce praised the removal of the European tariff and Trump’s decision to reverse the Obama administration protection for the seamounts.
A one-year trade deal with China eliminated a 35 per cent tariff on U.S. lobsters imposed during a trade war between the countries.
Photo credit: REUTERS
News source: CBC News