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US Lobster Exports To China Crash 80%

Courtesy of ZeroHedge

Earlier this month, we reported how several companies in Maine saw a massive drop in lobster exports due to President Trump's escalating trade war with China. Now data from the US federal government confirms a seafood crisis is developing. 

China has been the top consumer of American lobster for quite some time, especially ones from Maine. But that all changed last summer when President Trump slapped China with tariffs, which forced Beijing to retaliate with tariffs on agriculture products, including seafood. 

And just like that, the American lobster industry was ultimately shutout of China. This led to an enormous boon for Canadian fisherman.

In the last 8 to 12 months, airfreight volumes have been ticking up in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and Moncton, and New Brunswick, partly due to Canadain fisherman taking over the US' market share into China. 

The loss of business has been devastating for Maine's mom-and-pop fisherman shops who are now laying off workers. 

We reported that Vice President of sales and marketing at Maine Coast, Sheila Adams, said her company saw a 20% plunge in business activity in a matter of days last July after China retaliated against US tariffs on Chinese goods by raising duties on US food and agricultural exports, which included live lobsters.

"Essentially what's happened is about 80% of our sales into mainland China have gone away," she said.

"And that's purely because our product is simply just too expensive compared to the Canadian because of the additional 25% tariff that was levied."

The Lobster Co., of Arundel, Maine, owned by Stephanie Nadeau, said he laid off half of his workers this year because of the trade war. He said it's wrong for the Trump administration to pick winners and losers.

"They picked winners, and they picked losers, and they picked me a loser," Nadeau said. "There is no market that's going to replace China."

And let's not forget, when the government picks winners and losers in an economy, it's called socialism and tends to backfire, as seen in Maine.

The trade data on lobster exports is absolutely shocking.

Federal trade data showed US exports of lobster to China totaled about 2.2 million pounds this year through June. US exports were nearly 12 million pounds for the same period last year, a drop of more than 80% YoY.

In Canada, lobster exports to China through June were 33 million pounds, which is almost as much as all of 2018. 

The value of Canada's lobster exports was $200 million through June and has almost trumped all of last year's total of $223 million. 

The value of America's lobster exports through June was $19 million, more than $70 million behind where they were through June 2018.

Marianne LaCroix, who directs the Maine Lobster Marketing Collaborative, said the American lobster industry is looking to open up new domestic and international sales channels to make up for the loss of China.

"China is so large that you have to look at a number of new markets to replace that business," LaCroix said.

'Tariffs Hurt the Heartland', an alliance of trade associations and agriculture commodity groups, said tariffs cost US firms $3.4 billion in June alone.


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