The U.S. government of Donald Trump has launched a trade investigation to assess the impact of Canada’s worldwide lobster exports on the U.S. lobster industry.
On Aug. 24, the United States International Trade Commission announced it will investigate the possible negative effects of the Canada-Europe Trade Agreement (CETA) on American lobster exports.
The investigation was requested by U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer. The investigation will also examine tariff treatment of Canadian lobster in the United Kingdom, China and other countries.
The trade investigation was launched three days after the European Union eliminated an eight per cent tariff on U.S. lobster, sweeping away an advantage enjoyed by Canadian fishermen under CETA.
It was a major win for Maine’s lobster industry and for Trump, who had demanded European tariff relief two months earlier. Trump visited Maine in June, where he held a roundtable with the fishing industry and announced he was reopening the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument off the New England coast to commercial fishing.
Last week, a Maine lobster fisherman was a featured speaker at the Republican National Convention, where Jason Joyce praised the removal of the European tariff and Trump’s decision to reverse the Obama administration protection for the seamounts.
A one-year trade deal with China eliminated a 35 per cent tariff on U.S. lobsters imposed during a trade war between the countries.
Lobster fishermen and exporters in Nova Scotia were beneficiaries as Canadian shipments to China soared to fill the void.
The trade commission’s findings will be released in January, but not before a public hearing is held Oct. 1 — about a month before the U.S. election.