August 17, 2018

Moulton Leads Letter to Trump and Introduces Legislation to Protect Fishing Industry from Trade Wars

Washington, D.C. - Congressman Seth Moulton (D-MA), led a letter with Congressman Raul M. Grijalva (D-AZ), Ranking Member of the House Committee on Natural Resources, Congressman Jared Huffman (D-CA), Congressman William R. Keating (D-MA), and Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-ME) to President Trump and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross demanding that fishermen and women receive compensation for the losses they are suffering as a result of the Administration’s trade wars. Yesterday, it was announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture will give $12 billion in emergency aid to American farmers being negatively impacted by President Trump’s trade policies. The letter directs the Trump Administration to protect our nation’s commercial fishing industry from unilateral tariffs. The members have also introduced legislation that would would provide disaster relief for commercial fishery failures due to tariffs imposed by the United States or another country should the Administration ignore their calls to protect the industry.

A full text of the letter can be found below.

President Donald J. Trump

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW

Washington, DC 20500

Secretary Wilbur Ross

U.S. Department of Commerce

1401 Constitution Avenue NW

Washington, DC 20230

Dear President Trump and Secretary Ross:

Yesterday you announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture will give $12 billion in emergency aid to American farmers being negatively impacted by your trade policies, farmworkers are not the only Americans that are losing out in this trade war with China.

American fishermen and women are getting hit on both ends by your trade policies: first, by the tariffs imposed by your administration on steel and aluminum imports needed for boats, fishing hooks, and lobster and crab traps; and second, by the twenty-five percent retaliatory Chinese tariff on 170 American seafood products. American pollock, salmon, lobster, shrimp, and scallop fishermen, seafood processors, and shoreside businesses they support will all feel the negative effects of these trade policies, particularly given the fact that China is the world’s top seafood consumer and number one importer of American seafood. Currently, the United States exports $1.3 billion worth of seafood products to China.

American seafood businesses and fishing groups across the country have spoken out in opposition to your trade policies. The President of the National Fisheries Institute, John Connelly, said, “The misguided strategy, that sees the U.S. and People’s Republic of China placing unwarranted tariffs on the other’s seafood products, will only hurt workers and consumers in their own countries.” Rather than setting off an endless trade war, the U.S. government should help American fishermen and women access new markets in China and globally, promote trade policies that ensure strong environmental protections, and enforce safe labor protections for all workers. Contrary to your approach, these things put our country at a competitive advantage with China.

This trade war runs counterproductive to your administration’s priority to reduce our nation’s $14 billion seafood trade deficit. As a country that imports more than ninety percent of the seafood products it consumes, it is unclear how your administration plans to reduce the seafood deficit while simultaneously disadvantaging American fishermen’s ability to sell their seafood to the largest market.

We respectfully request that you give the same consideration to the hardworking fishermen and women of America who are being hurt by your policies and direct the U.S. Department of Commerce to provide emergency assistance to working families of the water. While we believe that these emergency subsidies would not be necessary were it not for your trade policies, fishermen across the country are imploring us to take action to ensure that they can continue to harvest the sea and provide for their families.

American seafood is some of the best in the world. Let’s not ruin an industry that has been a cornerstone of our economy since the inception of this great country. Thank you for your attention to this important matter.

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