USA China trade war will have major ramifications for global seafood market

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The United States is looking to introduce a ten percent tariff on Chinese import goods worth $200 million.

The new tariff is due to be enforced in two months’ time, and according to the provisional overview, includes Chinese seafood, reported in the Norwegian newspaper Dagens Næringsliv.

“If the United States now introduces a ten percent supplementary tariff on Chinese seafood, it will have major ramifications for the entire global seafood market,” said Sigmund Bjørgo, Director of the Norwegian Seafood Council (NSC), mainland China and Hong Kong.

Last year China exported seafood to the value of $17 million. The USA was the biggest buyer after Japan.

A retaliatory action
The news broke shortly after China had implemented a 25-percent punitive duty on U.S. goods, as a reply to the United States having done the same earlier.

“Instead of accommodating our concerns, China has initiated a retaliatory action against U.S. goods. That cannot be justified,” said Robert Lighthizer, spokesperson for US Trade Representatives (USTR) said in a statement.

The Chinese Ministry of Commerce has warned it will impose a further countermeasure.

Unsettling for Norwegian seafood industry
According to Bjørgo, it’s too early to say how the trade war will end.

“But obviously, when you have indeterminate external conditions for global seafood trade, it’s unsettling for the Norwegian seafood industry. Norway exports 95 percent of all seafood it produces. We are dependent on open markets and foreseeable external conditions,” he said.

USA’s warning of an impending tariff has rattled the Asian stock exchanges. The Nikkei index on the Tokyo exchange dropped by two percent at opening time Wednesday. The exchanges in Shanghai, Shenzhen and Hongkong have fallen by more than 1.3 percent.