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Trump could impose tariffs on Alaska salmon, pollock, cod amid frustration over US-China trade negotiations

Industry responses are mixed to the news of a potential tariff hike on major AK seafood products.

Alaska salmon, pollock and cod -- seafood products previously exempt from tariffs imposed as part of the ongoing trade war between US President Donald Trump and China -- now could face a 10 percent tariff by September.

On Thursday Trump said the United States would impose a 10 percent tariff on an additional $300 billion worth of Chinese imports next month following "increasingly fruitless negotiations with China," reported the New York Times.

At-Sea Processors Association (APA) Executive Director Stephanie Madsen told IntraFish adding a tariff for Alaska pollock would be a win for the sector.

The Alaska pollock industry has been fighting pollock's tariff exemption since it was put in place last fall, where members of the At-Sea Processor's Association (APA) said the exemption inadvertently gave Russian pollock producers a price advantage on the US market.

"We think we're moving in the right direction," she said, following Trump's announcement Thursday.

Despite intensive lobbying in Washington on behalf of the APA, the finality of Trump's intent remains uncertain, according to Matt Tinning, its new director of public affairs.

He noted a draft rule issued by the US Trade Representative in May included pollock on its list, and that the same list has already gone through a public comment period.

"Given the president's tweets today, we expect to see a final rule," he said. "The question is, will the rule have the same list as the draft rule or will it change?"

Jeremy Woodrow, executive director of the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute (ASMI), also questioned the details of Trump's announcement and has not released an official statement on the issue.

Alaska has been hard-hit by the trade war with China accounting for nearly $1 billion (€906 million) in sales in 2017 and serving as the state's largest export market and re-processor for seafood.

"We're still trying to analyze what impact there might be," Woodrow said, noting ASMI hasn't seen a finalized version of any list that would include the above Alaska seafood products. "With these announcements, the last thing we want to do is have a knee-jerk reaction."

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