Illegal and Unfair Fishing by China and Other Countries Costs Fishermen Millions, US Trade Representative Says | Alaska News
Illegal fishing and unfair seafood trade practices by other countries, including China, cost commercial fishers $60 million a year.
Katherine Tai, who serves as the U.S. Trade Representative, delivered the message during a seafood industry roundtable on Thursday with U.S. Senator Dan Sullivan and members of the fishing industry in Alaska.
Tai said China heavily subsidizes its fishing industry, which gives the nation an advantage by reducing the price of seafood. The nation also engages in questionable practices.
The United States recently secured an agreement with the World Trade Organization to ban subsidized products from unregulated fisheries that engage in unfair and illegal practices.
Among these practices is the Chinese processing of Russian seafood with sulphide injections to bring a cheaper product to market at a higher weight.
Sullivan and Tai worked together on a Biden administration executive order to ban Russian seafood imports after it invaded Ukraine.
Sullivan said this week that he was acting as a welcoming ambassador for Tai, while on tour in Alaska. Tai enjoys bipartisan support in the Senate, where she was confirmed by a unanimous vote.
“She’s out there seeing our big issues here,” Sullivan said Thursday.
In 2021, the Alaska Legislature asked Tai as U.S. Trade Representative to bring renewed attention to the plight of U.S. seafood producers and ensure China’s compliance with the import and purchase of US seafood exports.
Sullivan noted that exports of all goods from Alaska total more than $6 billion annually. Services from the tourism sector and air cargo transportation bring the total to $10 billion.
Sullivan said two roundtables Thursday — on seafood and energy — provided an opportunity for members of the natural resources sector to talk about Alaska and concerns about fair access to international markets.
Tai learned of Alaska’s concerns about fair trade in its natural resources from mining, oil and gas production.
Members of Alaska’s seafood and energy industries highlighted the need to champion Alaska and recognize its contributions to US exports, in the areas of salmon and minerals critical to smart technologies.
While Alaska, for example, has an abundance of minerals needed to make cell phones and electric vehicle batteries, China dominates the supply chain.
China is able to produce the rare earths used in electronics and batteries cheaply thanks to cheap labor, lax environmental rules and government subsidies.
“We have the highest environmental and labor standards in the world,” Sullivan said. “These are very big exports for us, but we could be much bigger if the [Biden] the administration was not determined to make it difficult to permit and develop large-scale resource development projects in Alaska.
Contact Linda F. Hersey at [email protected], or find her on Twitter at @FDNMpolitics. His phone number is 907-459-7575.