Boston, MA - Representative Stephen F. Lynch (D-MA-08), along with United States Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Edward J. Markey (D-MA) and Representatives William Keating (D-MA-09), Seth Moulton (D-MA-06) and Joseph P. Kennedy III (D-MA-04), sent a letter this week to U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Robert Lighthizer urging him to explore new markets for American lobster exports to address the impact of China's 25 percent tariffs on imported American lobsters. The lawmakers' letter comes ahead of a Joint Committee on Export Development oversight hearing in the Massachusetts State House to assess the impact of Chinese tariffs on the Commonwealth's lobster industry.
U.S. lobster exports to China are down more than 80 percent since June 2018, which is reflected in the losses reported by local Massachusetts lobster companies. At least two businesses in the state have been forced to cease operations, leaving more than 250 employees out of work, and the U.S. lobster industry more vulnerable to long-term decline and competition from Canada.
"While Massachusetts state legislators are exploring solutions for economic relief at the state level, it is imperative that there be federal resolve to assist the Massachusetts lobstermen whose livelihoods heavily relied on exports to China," the lawmakers wrote in their letter.
In June 2018, in response to concerns from local elected officials, Senator Warren sent a letter to Ambassador Lighthizer urging him to explore ways to open new markets for American lobster exports. In response to her letter, Ambassador Lighthizer acknowledged her concerns and indicated that trade agreements with countries in Africa and South East Asia and the U.S. Department of Commerce's Foreign Commercial Service could help mitigate the loss of the Chinese market.
In their letter to Ambassador Lighthizer, the lawmakers highlighted the harmful impact of the Trump Administration's trade war on the Massachusetts lobster industry and reiterated calls for the USTR to explore new export markets for American lobstermen.
"We urge you to work with the Massachusetts lobster industry to provide specific solutions and resources to end the dire losses to the Massachusetts economy," the lawmakers continued.
The lawmakers requested a response to their letter by September 30, 2019.
You can read the letter here.
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