Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senator Susan Collins announced that Maine lobstermen and women have been awarded a total of $36,284,110.12 to date to help offset the financial harm they have experienced due to China’s retaliatory tariffs. The funding has been provided through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Seafood Trade Relief Program.
“Unfair retaliatory tariffs as well as the COVID-19 pandemic that has closed restaurants and reduced exports have placed increasing financial pressure on Maine’s hardworking lobstermen and women,” said Senator Collins. “These direct payments I worked to secure will help provide some relief. Maine’s lobster industry has sustained coastal communities and families for generations, and I will continue to fight to keep this industry strong.”
The USDA will continue to accept applications for the Seafood Trade Relief Program until December 14, 2020. Click here for more information: https://www.farmers.gov/Seafood
The Maine Delegation has consistently stood with the lobster industry, which faces a number of serious threats, including the ongoing trade war with China and potential federal regulations associated with the ongoing right whale issue. Following a letter the Maine Delegation sent to President Trump in June 2019, the Administration issued a Presidential Memorandum that called on USTR and USDA to provide the lobster industry with the same form of financial assistance that has already been extended to farmers suffering as a result of China’s retaliatory tariffs.
In November 2019, Senators Collins and Angus King and Representative Chellie Pingree urged the USTR to pursue a trade deal with the European Union that would prioritize lobster; in a February 2019 letter, the Delegation asked the USTR to prioritize lobster in negotiations, noting that live lobster exports to China dropped by 64% in the first month after the retaliatory tariffs were imposed. The Maine Delegation has also pressed for the Administration to offer funding to help the lobster industry access new markets.