Lobster exports out of Maine are free-falling this year as a result of trade hostilities between the United States and lobster-hungry China, the Associated Press reports. The country, which has become a huge customer for the U.S. lobster industry, issued tariffs on many food products in July 2018, including American lobsters. The higher cost has pushed Chinese customers to look farther north for the coveted crustacean. Now, lobstermen in Canada, who catch the same species of lobster as American suppliers, are profiting off the slack. Canada’s lobster exports neared $200 million through June, while America’s exports through June were valued at less than $19 million—over $70 million less than the previous year. Despite sustained domestic demand, the Chinese tariffs have taken a toll on lobster businesses in Maine, forcing some to lay off workers working in wholesale. “China is so large that you have to look at a number of new markets to replace that business,” said Marianne LaCroix, Executive Director of the Maine Lobster Marketing Collaborative.
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