KODIAK - Alaska’s seafood industry is exploring strategies to reduce damage from the Trump administration’s trade dispute with China, officials said.
The Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute plans to explore how Alaska can enter additional markets to expand the state’s seafood brand, The Kodiak Daily Mirror reported.
The U.S. raised tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese imports from 10% to 25% Friday.
China is the largest export market and re-processor of Alaska seafood, with about $989 million worth of sales to China in 2017 alone. That is more than 50% of the state's seafood products, the institute said.
The institute is looking at "both traditional and nontraditional markets" for seafood globally, Executive Director Jeremy Woodrow said.
A survey of Alaska seafood businesses found 65% immediately lost sales after tariffs were implemented, 50% reported sales delays and 36% reported lost customers in China. Another 21% reported they had unanticipated costs because of the trade dispute, Woodrow said.
“Because of the conflict, it makes our product less competitive in that marketplace,” Woodrow said.
In March, Woodrow told the Alaska House Fisheries Committee that 2018 seafood sales were off by more than 20% and that the industry should expect to take a big hit in the Chinese market in 2019.
Tariffs can have different market effects depending on the seafood species being sold, such as crab or salmon, and whether the product is live or reprocessed, said Garrett Evridge of the McDowell Group, an economic analysis firm in Anchorage.
“With all this trade stuff, the impact of uncertainty is the largest impact,” Evridge said.