AUGUSTA — Sen. Justin Chenette, D-Saco, joins a bipartisan group of state lawmakers speaking out against the 25 percent Chinese tariff 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.
“The lobster industry is a core part of our communities and economies along the coast. The Trump Administration’s approach to trade policy, driven by impulse and ego, is harming Maine workers and families,” said Sen. Chenette. “I am hopeful that if enough of us speak out and raise enough noise we can convince Congress to reverse the Trump Administration's recent positions and prevent a decimation of Maine’s lobster industry.”
On Friday, Chinese officials announced plans to tax imports of American lobster as retaliation in an escalating trade dispute between the two countries. The tariffs are scheduled to begin July 6.
Maine’s lobster industry generates some 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 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.