ASMI to comment on impact of proposed tariffs

Board members of the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute are keeping watch on the trade war between the U.S. and China and plan to submit formal comments in advance of the Sept. 6 deadline, says Jeremy Woodrow, ASMI’s communications director.

“We are going into this with the assumption that this is an opportunity to educate the U.S. trade representative on the importance of Alaska fisheries to the U.S. economy and Alaska workers,”

Woodrow said. “While we understand the reasons behind the proposal, the intended impact doesn’t achieve the goal. Instead of having consequences to Chinese consumers, this negatively impacts us consumers and products and U.S. fishermen and companies,” he said.

Woodrow said ASMI’s understanding at this time is that seafood products going from Alaska to China would be subject to these proposed tariffs only if consumed in the Chinese domestic market. If that seafood is being reprocessed to ship elsewhere, it would not be subject to tariff, but if it is being shipped back to the U.S., there is potential that it will be subject to the tariffs because of the proposal by Robert Lighthizer, the U.S. trade representative.

The proposed U.S. tariffs came under consideration in the wake of China’s decision to implement an additional 25 percent tariff for exported products destined for China’s domestic market. The proposed tariffs could impact the bottom line for Alaska companies that sell black cod, rockfish, flatfish and salmon roe into Chinese domestic markets.

President Trump told Lighthizer’s office in early August to consider raising proposed tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese goods to 25 percent from the 10 percent rate the Trump administration was considering. Only 1l4 percent of those products are seafood, Woodrow said.