Sens. Chipman and Dion speak out against retaliatory lobster tariffs
Sen. Ben Chipman and Sen. Mark Dion, both D-Portland, joined a bipartisan group of state lawmakers in speaking out against the 25 percent Chinese tariff increase on U.S. lobster exports. In a letter to Maine’s Congressional Delegation, 112 state lawmakers warn of devastating economic consequences to Maine’s coastal communities and lobstermen if the ongoing trade war between the U.S. and China continues.
“This is not a partisan issue,” said Sen. Chipman. “Democrats, Republicans, and independents from all across the state agree that a thoughtless approach to trade policy is not the way things should be done.”
“People are scared for their livelihoods and for the future of their communities because of these actions,” said Sen. Dion. “Mainers shouldn’t suffer because of brash decision-making in Washington, D.C.”
In June, Chinese officials announced plans to tax imports of American lobster as retaliation in an escalating trade dispute between the two countries. The tariffs began July 6.
Maine’s lobster industry generates about 4,000 jobs and contributes an estimated $1 billion to the state’s economy, according to a 2016 economic impact study. That’s in addition to the income earned by lobstermen when they sell their catch, which totals another nearly half a billion dollars each year. The state is responsible for the majority of all U.S. lobster exports.
The Chinese tariff on Canadian lobster is only 7 percent.
The full text of the letter is available here. It was sent to U.S. Senators Angus King and Susan Collins, Congresswoman Chellie Pingree and Congressman Bruce Poliquin.