KTVA: Murkowski shares concerns over seafood tariffs

At a hearing on Capitol Hill, Sen. Lisa Murkowski expressed concerns Alaskans have about potentially wide-ranging Chinese tariffs on the seafood industry.

She’s concerned about how the tariffs will affect Alaska’s trade relationship with China that, until recently, has been positive. And the stakes are high; the amount of seafood exported is not insignificant.

“Of our salmon exports, 40 percent of those exports went to China. For cod, 54 percent of our exports went to China," Murkowski said. "In 2017, we saw roughly one-third of Alaska’s seafood exports end up in China, worth nearly $1 billion, so this is considerable.”

Barriers to Alaska trade are already complicated by the state’s relationships with other countries beyond China. A Russian embargo on American seafood has been in effect since 2014, and there are import quotas in the European Union, Japan and South Korea -- which has seafood producers concerned.

“They’re asking how long they’re going to have to endure the tariffs on their seafood exports before the administration acts to resolve rather than escalate these trade disputes,” Murkowski said.

When asked about the administration’s strategy regarding China, Assistant Secretary for Industry and Analysis at the International Trade Administration, Nazak Nikakhtar, said it’s ready to hear suggestions.

“We’ve always had the open channel to present good ideas to [the administration],” she said, “I’m always happy to hear from industries and develop a strategy that works for them and then present it to the administration.”

By:  Angela Krenzien
Source: KTVA