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September 11, 2018

Lobster exports post steep decline under Trump’s China tariffs

Courtesy / U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Courtesy / U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
The value of live Maine lobsters exported to China dropped 64% in July 2018, compared with July 2017, following the Trump administration's imposition of new tariffs on China.

The value of live Maine lobsters exported to China dropped 64% in July 2018, compared with July 2017.

The Bangor Daily News reported on data from WISERTrade, an international trade data firm, which also showed that national lobster exports decreased 28% in value in July 2018 compared to the previous July, following the Trump administration's imposition of new tariffs on China.

The drop coincides with China's 25% tariff on U.S. goods, including lobster. China imposed new duties on a host of imported U.S. products, including lobsters, in response to the Trump Administration's announcement of a 25% tariff on up to $50 billion worth of Chinese goods. Maine's $500 million lobster industry relies heavily on exports to Asia.

In June, Annie Tselikis, executive director of the Maine Lobster Dealers' Association, told the Xinhua News Agency that China accounts for 15% to 20% of the export value of U.S. lobsters. Tom Adams, CEO of Maine Coast Lobster Co. in York, told the agency that China was his fastest growing market, with customers in China's big cities such as Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou.

China imported more than 17.8 million pounds of lobster from the U.S. in 2017, eclipsing the previous record of about 14 million pounds in 2016. The growth is tied to China's expanding middle class.

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