Alaska Department of Fish and Game commissioner Doug Vincent-Lang penned a letter to President Joe Biden about natural resources trade value, particularly in the seafood industry. Here’s a portion of the letter:
Alaska Encourages Biden Administration to Negotiate Fair Trade Practices
The Biden administration will be meeting with the Chinese government this week to discuss diplomatic relations. Despite its close ties to China, the State of Alaska has not been invited to participate in these discussions. We encourage the Biden administration to include issues related to the trade of seafood and timber in its discussions, which are important economic driver in Alaska.
Seafood is Alaska’s #1 export product, accounting for over half of all of Alaska’s exports and is our highest value export, totaling over $5 billion in economic activity annually. The Alaska seafood industry competes in a global market and is a significant economic driver for our state. Exports of seafood account for about two- thirds of our total export value (about $3 billion) and three-quarters of our total volume annually. In sum, it is one of the most critical elements of Alaska’s economy.
Significant investments have been made over the last decade to gain footholds in the rapidly expanding Chinese domestic seafood market. Unfortunately, those investments have been thrown into chaos by retaliatory tariffs imposed beginning in July 2018. For example, wild Alaska pollock now faces a 35-37% tariff when entering China (up from 7% before the recent trade dispute), while Russian pollock only faces a 5-7% tariff when entering China. This has significantly impacted our trade of pollock with China and significantly hurt Alaska businesses who made investments as well as our economy.