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November 14, 2017

Canada's trade agreement with Europe pinches Maine lobster industry

Photo / James McCarthy
Photo / James McCarthy
A lobster boat gets ready to head out to sea from Swan Island's harbor. The New York Times reported that a new trade agreement between Canada and the European Union that has cut tariffs on imports of Canadian lobsters could give Canada's lobster industry the edge over Maine's.

A new trade agreement between Canada and the European Union that has cut tariffs on imports of Canadian lobsters could give Canada's lobster industry the edge over Maine's.

The New York Times reported the agreement, which went into effect in September, eliminated an 8% European tariff on live lobster and frozen and processed Canadian lobster. The tariff will be phased out in the next three to five years.

The elimination of European tariffs is "the single-most challenging issue" for the American lobster industry, Annie Tselikis, the executive director of the Maine Lobster Dealers' Association, told the New York Times.

Tselikis said the pact was encouraging American companies to invest in new facilities in Canada to qualify for the lower European tariff.

"It does open up a number of opportunities for Canadians that clearly aren't going to be available to Americans in the foreseeable future," John Weekes, Canada's North American Free Trade Agreement negotiator in the 1990s, told the newspaper.

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