Maine Leaders Accuse China of Not Fulfilling Its Promise to the Lobster Industry

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Photo: Jeremy Bezanger

The representatives of the state of Maine have accused China of not fulfilling their end of an agreement that was made to lower trade tensions between the two countries under then-president Donald Trump. 

The lobster industry was jeopardized in 2018 when China imposed retaliatory tariffs. But following an agreement between the US and Chinese leaders to purchase $200 billion worth of American goods (which included lobsters), it did not see significant export earnings. 

China was expected to amplify its purchases over the 2017 levels under the “Phase One Agreement.” 

China has purchased almost no lobster above 2017 levels, according to the letter sent by Senator Angus King, an independent who convenes with Democrats, Chellie Pingree and Jared Golden, who are both Democratic representatives, Thursday. 

They urged Katherine Tai, the trade representative of the US, to “hold China accountable for its purchase commitments.” 

A Maine republican leader, Susan Collins, has also dispatched a letter speaking about the same matter and urging “swift and appropriate action.” 

Following China’sChina’s adoption of a tariff on lobster in July 2018, its purchases from Maine distributors have dropped dramatically, said the industry officials. China also shifted its purchases to Canadian dealers. 

The dispute about the lobster deal came after the US trade representative alleged Beijing of not fulfilling its market-opening promises when it joined the World Trade Organization. China, however, has denied allegations.