China to put extra 25% import tariff on Alaska salmon, pollock, herring and groundfish starting July 6
By LAINE WELCH
June 17, 2018
“The 25 percent will be added to the current base tariffs which typically range from 5 to 15 percent,” said Garrett Evridge, a fishery analyst with the McDowell Group.
The list of seafood products includes all Alaska salmon, pollock, cod, herring, flatfish, Dungeness crab, snow crab, Atka mackerel, sablefish, geoduck clams and more.
“This is devastating news,” said Frances Leach, executive director of United Fishermen of Alaska which represents 34 groups. “The tariff will not just impact commercial fishermen but will also affect the more than 60,000 individuals who are employed by the state’s fishing industry.”
China has been Alaska’s top seafood customer since 2011, purchasing 54 percent of all seafood exports valued at $1.3 billion in 2017.
The bulk of Alaska’s fish harvests go to China for reprocessing before they are sent to customers around the world. Those also will be subject to the 25 percent tariff, said market expert John Sackton of SeafoodNew.com.
“China has become the de facto export destination for virtually all seafood reprocessing done overseas. The cost of these tariffs will slam the seafood industry, because ultimately there is little choice but to continue to send these products to China,” he said. “So through no fault of our own, most companies will see a big hit to their bottom line because they will have to agree to lower prices in order to maintain marketability in the face of this 25 percent increase in costs.”
“This represents the worst outcome feared by the industry,” Sackton added. “The Chinese are deliberately targeting smaller industries that have little ability to fight back.”
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