Fish Radio

TPP agreement will cut seafood tariffs

October 28, 2015                         TPP

This is Fish Radio. I’m Laine Welch – The Trans-Pacific trade agreement touts duty free seafood. More after this —

Alaska seafood is the second most recognized brand name at the nation’s top 500 restaurant chains.  That’s due in great part to the team at the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute.  Learn more about ASMI’s programs and strategies at www.alaskaseafood.org

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 Last month the US last month struck the world’s largest trade agreement with 11 countries (Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam) and more – including China – are likely to sign on. The Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP, covers 40 percent of the global economy – supporters claim it will create a powerful economic bloc with reduced trade barriers for all kinds of goods and data.   Alaska seafood will net a big benefit from the trade pact – lowered or zeroed out tariffs, the taxes on imports that make them more expensive to consumers.

For surimi products and pollock roe – there were 4.2 percent rates on both – it’s been widely cited that those two tariffs going into Japan would immediately go to zero upon the agreement going into place. 

Ron Rogness is a spokesman for American Seafoods whose fleet fishes for pollock in the Bering Sea.  Currently, the tariffs across the partnership countries range from 3.5 to 11 percent. Tariffs on sockeye salmon – now at 3.5% – would also be zeroed out immediately.

An Intrafish chart shows that for other salmon species, the import tax would be gradually reduced and eventually eliminated.  Tariffs on king and snow crab, herring roe and frozen cod would be removed immediately. Rogness says the new agreement also will remove a bone of contention for pollock –

It’s been a point of contention for the US industry that imports of warm water surimi from Asian countries like Thailand have been coming in at a favorable rate of duty of 2% relative to our 4.2 percent. With this agreement, our duties will go to zero. …   Given the fact that our fisheries are much more sustainably managed and there been questionable labor practices in some of these Asian fisheries, it’s been a sore spot that they’ve had a more favorable situation entering Japan.

The TPP still has a long way to go.  The trade deal must still be ratified by each country, including the U.S., and it still faces stiff opposition on several fronts. Ron Rogness predicts it will be at least two years before the TPP is approved.

Fish Radio is also brought to you by Ocean Beauty Seafoods – who salutes and says thanks to the men and women fishing across Alaska for their hard work and dedication. (www.oceanbeauty.com) In Kodiak, I’m Laine Welch.

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