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Seafood's most dangerous foe

And he's only getting worse.

OK, so maybe we've been tough on the guy once or twice or half a dozen times. And if I had something genuinely positive to say about Donald Trump's impact on the seafood industry, apart perhaps from the huge tax break some companies benefited from, I'd say it.

But this industry runs on trade, and there's no question that the White House's wild policies are a clear and present danger to the US seafood industry. The ramifications, of course, reach far, far beyond America's shores.

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The spat with China has already sent American companies scrambling to understand the ramifications, to react accordingly and to communicate insofar as possible to anybody that will listen that any effort to hurt trade partners, China in particular, would end up impacting the domestic industry far more than the Chinese one.

Unfortunately, that's not the only thing to worry about.

New fights have emerged, and suddenly Canada is in the cross hairs, with bombastic threats from the Trump administration that Canada might be excluded from NAFTA.

It's easy to forget Canada's power as a seafood producer, and even easier to forget its power as a market.

America's sleepy northern neighbor brought in more than $1 billion (€860 million) in seafood imports in 2017, just under China. It shipped a whopping $3.3 billion (€2.8 billion) in seafood to the US market -- more than any other trading partner, including China.

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Reports Thursday that Japan might also be the next front in Trump's trade fight should send a further shudder through the industry. Japan took in $876.5 million (€754.1 million) worth of US seafood last year, or around 15 percent of the country's total export value.

What's more, the Japanese market -- though in decline on a macro scale -- was one of the fastest-growing importers of US seafood in 2017, bringing in an additional 25 percent in value from the year prior.

That's almost on exact par with China's import value growth, whose $1.3 billion (€1.1 billion) spend was up 24.8 percent from 2016 to 2017.

Like many of you, I have a seafood trade flow map on my office wall, and the kaleidoscope of arrows is a constant reminder that this industry and its products are in perpetual motion. It's part of what makes it such a fascinating sector.

While it's impossible to bring that cycle to an end, the whims of one dangerous man are certainly testing the strength of global seafood supply network.

Want more Trump? Click here to read IntraFish's full coverage.

Comments? Email: drew.cherry@intrafish.com

Twitter: @drewcherry

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