Walker worried about potential Trump tariffs
Gov. Bill Walker says he's worried about a potential setback for Alaska seafood amid a growing trade war with China.
On Wednesday, a seafood analyst told KTVA about a preliminary list of retaliatory sanctions by President Donald Trump on Chinese products. Some of those Chinese products are actually Alaskan seafood, sent to the Asian nation for processing.
"I know Alaska's fishing community is worried – I assure you, I am too," Walker said in a statement this weekend. "I have been keeping in close touch with fishermen, processors, industry partners, our congressional delegation, and other stakeholders to see how we can make progress on this issue without sparking negative consequences for prices, markets, or fishermen. Alaska seafood depends upon access to global markets - it's time to speak out."
John Sackton, a publisher at Seafood News, says Trump's action would undermine Gov. Walker's efforts to boost the market for Alaska seafood in China. In May, Walker and a delegation of representatives from Alaska organizations, including some seafood processors, traveled to China on a trade mission.
Sackton notes that the last round of tariffs China imposed on American products is already hurting Alaska seafood.
"That same first round of tariffs also targeted a lot of things that are very important to Alaska. For example, China has become more and more of a major market for particularly high-end seafood, like sablefish, like geoduck. Now all subject to a 25 percent tariff in China," Sackton said. "So a lot of the benefits that Gov. Walker and the trade mission that was over there in China in [May] talked about, have been basically put on ice by this current tariff problem."
In his statement on the topic, Walker vowed to push Washington on the issue.
"We need the federal government to hear loud and clear what we already know in Alaska: limiting market access for Alaska businesses is not a solution. It’s a problem - one that we’re going to work to fix," Walker said.
According to Sackton, Trump is expected to publish a final list of products for sanctions by the end of next month.
Copyright 2018 KTVA. All rights reserved.
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