This funding will be important for American fishermen, including Maine’s lobster harvesters, who have been hurt by China’s retaliatory tariffs
Washington, D.C. — Following longstanding, bipartisan efforts by U.S. Senators Susan Collins and Angus King and Representative Chellie Pingree, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Sonny Perdue announced today that the USDA will provide approximately $530 million to support U.S. fishermen in coastal states impacted by retaliatory tariffs from foreign governments. The funding will be provided through the Seafood Trade Relief Program and funded through the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC), administered by USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA).
Senators Collins and King and Representative Pingree lauded the new funds but urged the Administration to expand the program to include the seafood industry’s supply chain, especially dealers and processors, many of whom have seen their foreign business drastically impacted by the ongoing trade wars.
“The hardworking men and women of Maine’s fisheries have been, and continue to be, unfairly harmed by China’s retaliatory tariffs. We have strongly advocated for trade relief for all members of our state’s lobster industry, which supports the livelihoods of thousands of Mainers, and have repeatedly pushed for assistance to alleviate the economic challenges those employed in our seafood supply chain are experiencing,” said Senators Collins and King and Representative Pingree in a joint statement. “Today’s announcement by USDA is welcome news for Maine harvesters, and we encourage them to apply quickly for this funding. However, this program does not currently include dealers and processors, many of whom have suffered severe economic harm and lost large shares of their foreign markets due to these retaliatory tariffs. Given how critical these entities are to the industry’s supply chain and overall success, any effort to solve this problem must include aid for these businesses. In the days ahead, we will push to ensure this program provides support for the entire supply chain, and we will continue fighting to address the numerous challenges the industry faces.”
In August, Senators Collins and King and Representatives Pingree and Jared Golden urged USDA to immediately act of President Trump’s June 24 memorandum to provide relief funds to the entire lobster industry.
Since last June, the Maine Delegation has worked together to offset the financial toll President Trump’s trade war has had on the state’s seafood industry.
Fishermen can sign-up for relief through the program from September 14, 2020 to December 14, 2020. Fishermen should apply through their local USDA Service Center. More information can be found here: www.farmers.gov/Seafood.