Salmon removed from list of items subject to new tariffs

Fresh Copper River king salmon rest on a grill during Alaska Airlines' Copper Chef Cook-Off at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport on Friday, May 18, 2018. (Photo by Emily Mesner/The Cordova Times)

Word that the United States Trade Representative has removed Alaska salmon from the list of items subject to new tariffs between the U.S. and China is winning kudos from Sen, Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, and Gov. Bill Walker.

Alaska Pollock and Alaska cod, as well as salmon filets, are now off the list of potential tariffs.

Both commended USTR’s decision to withdraw proposed tariffs on certain Alaska caught salmon after months of efforts by Walker, industrial partners and the state’s congressional delegation to support a national trade policy that supports seafood producers and coastal communities.

“This announcement is good news for our seafood industry, meaning Alaskans won’t be taxing our own salmon products as they return to the U.S. for domestic consumption,” Murkowski said. The senator raised the seafood tariff issue with USTR and the International Trade administration during hearings before the Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies.  In July, Murkowski questioned U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer on the administration’s trade strategy and how USTR planned to support foreign markets for Alaska seafood. In September, she also questioned Nazak Nikakhtar, assistant secretary for industry and analysis at ITA on her agency’s engagement with the seafood industry to develop positive trade relationships with China, Russia and the European Union,

Alaska exports over one million metric tons of seafood annually, adding over $3 billion in foreign money to the national economy, Walker noted.

Some of that exported seafood, including salmon, is initially processed domestically, then sent to China for secondary processing to remain competitively priced, before being imported back into the U.S.


Walker said subjecting wild Alaska salmon to foreign tariffs as it returns to the U.S. would create serious financial consequences for the seafood industry, which is the state’s largest private-sector employer.

“We are very happy to see our efforts produce a win for Alaska, our economy, and our fishermen,” Walker said. “With tariffs lifted on Alaska Pollock, cod and now salmon, we will continue to advocate for other important commercial species, particularly flatfish, to be removed from the tariff list.  We are proud that Alaska’s exports, from seafood to oil, natural gas and other natural resources, are part of the solution for our trade deficit with China. We want to keep growing that business, not limit it.”