SEAFOOD companies in the United States are waiting anxiously this week to see what impact the growing trade war between Washington and Beijing will have on their businesses.
US tariffs totalling $34 billion on Chinese goods have just come into effect. China immediately hit back, imposing 25 per cent tariffs on US exports, including some types of fish and seafood.
However, seafood sent for processing, as long as it is re-exported back to the US or elsewhere, is exempt. Some fishmeal products will also escape.
But a lot of American companies, especially those in Alaska, the largest fishing state in the US, sell directly into China and they are expecting to be hit.
Furthermore, it puts them at a competitive disadvantage to rival seafood exporting countries such as Norway and Russia.
But some trade analysts in Oslo fear that if the trade war escalates further it could eventually impact on Norwegian salmon exports to the US.
In the last few weeks, the US seafood industry has pleaded with President Donald Trump to avoid a trade war at all costs, but the plea seems to have fallen on deaf ears. Beijing has accused the US of triggering the largest trade war in economic history.
Lu Kang, a Chinese foreign ministry spokesman, said: ‘After the US activated its tariff measures against China, China’s measures against the US took effect immediately.’
China is a big market for Alaska, worth up to a billion dollars a year, with half of that figure being sent directly to China for home consumption.
Consultant Garrett Evridge, who works closely with the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute, believes the potential damage impact is difficult to guess at this stage, but he added that the situation was worrying.
Picture: President Trump – trade wars