“President Trump spent much of his roundtable today saying he could fix trade policies that have hurt Maine fisherman with the stroke of a pen, but it is his failed trade policies that caused China to retaliate with a lobster tariff. The Maine congressional delegation wrote to him last June to help our fishermen and he did nothing. according to a press release issued today by Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-ME).
“President Trump had four years to meet with Maine fishermen who have been devastated by his reckless trade and commerce policies, but he did not. When Congress approved $300 million in COVID-19 relief money for the fishing industry, the Trump dragged its feet to release that money. Forget the fact that the President doesn’t have explicit legal authority to unilaterally open up a national monument for commercial fishing, this will tiet up in the courts for years. This move will not provide economic benefits to the fishing industry at a time when markets have been lost, the global supply chain is in shambles and boats are tied up at the dock,” according to the press release.
The letter referred to above in the first paragraph was written on June 7, 2019. It said in part that “one of the first victims of retaliation imposed by China…….was lobster shipped from Maine. Prior to these tariffs, China had become the second largest importer of Maine lobster. During 2017-the last full year before the tariffs went into effect-Chinese customers purchased $128.5 million of lobster from Maine and during the first half of 2018, US lobster exports to China increased by 169 percent. It was a trend that Maine lobstermen expected to continue.
The June 7 letter shows that the latest data from the Maine International Trade Center shows that lobster exports to China have plummeted EIGHTY FOUR (84%) since China imposed its retaliatory tariff. To date, your administration has provided relief to American farmers who have been similarily affected by retalilatory tariffs, but has not provided such relief to the lobster industry, which is an integral part of our state’s economy. Maine has 4,5000 state-licensed lobstermen.
The letter was signed by all four members of Maine’s congressional delegation – including Senator Susan Collins (R). Where is she on this issue?