Trump Threatens China Over Lobsters

Mish

Trump is worried China may not be buying enough US lobsters.

All eyes are on the lobster trade.

Need to Maintain Appearances

That Trump is worried if China is buying a few containers of lobsters so he can keep up appearances for the market, instead of solving for a crisis at home that will be soon killing thousands a day again, speaks volumes.

Maine’s Lobster Exports to China plunge 84%

Flashback May 16, 2019: Maine’s lobster exports to China plunge 84 percent due to trade war.

The tariffs, implemented in July 2018, had an immediate affect on the state’s lobster industry. Prior to the tariffs, Maine had been on track to have a record-setting year, with USD 87 million (EUR 77.8 million) worth of lobster exported through June 2018, over double the USD 42 million (EUR 37.5 million) shipped through the same period in 2017.

Soon after tariffs were implemented, however, Maine’s exports to China nearly disappeared completely, and according to the latest data from the MITC exports have plunged nearly 84 percent since the tariffs were implemented.

The latest talk on the trade front doesn’t point to any improvement in those numbers any time soon. U.S. President Donald Trump threatened and then implemented further tariff increases on 10 May. In response, China fired back with its own increased tariffs, including additional tariffs on a number of seafood products.

Despite the threat of escalation, for many lobster exporters, the damage has already been done. Whether the tariffs increase or not, most of the business had already dried up.

Reflections on the All Important Lobster Trade

With hundreds of billions of dollars of government stimulus sloshing around, Trump is now extremely worried over an $87 million lobster loss that was entirely of his own making. 

Mish

Comments (30)
No. 1-15
Realist
Realist

Trump keeps using the same strategy: the politics of hate. Keep focusing on a perceived enemy or enemies in order to garner support. As Sechel mentions; this week he has threatened tariffs on Mexico, Canada, Europe, China etc. Didn't the free trade deal with Mexico and Canada just begin? I don't know why anyone would bother negotiating an agreement with Trump. You know he will renege on it almost immediately.

In the meantime, he is ignoring the real enemy right now; CV19. I guess that's because there isn't a tariff he can threaten it with.

I repeat: worst president ever.

ToInfinityandBeyond
ToInfinityandBeyond

Didn't someone say it was easy to win trade wars? Jackass.

Augustthegreat
Augustthegreat

tRump thinks he can bully everybody into submission. Empires are always defeated from the inside.

njbr
njbr

It takes years to build a relationship with a customer, but not much time to destroy it.

Trump surely knows that there are other suppliers out there in the world constantly looking for a foothold in the world's largest market and more than willing to step in and push out the discredited former supplier. Soy beans, lobsters, luxury cars, airplanes...

Or maybe he doesn't know that.

Meanwhile, on the frontiers of "decoupling" we are still relying on China for most of our PPE.

kurtellis
kurtellis

this is all for 87 million in sales? the CARES act cost about 23,000 times more than all this lobster business.

Carl_R
Carl_R

Keep in mind that there were record lobster yields in 2013 and for a few years following that, and a glut of lobsters, but that lobster yields have dropped in recent years. Without doing a lot more research to try to understand the economics of the lobster industry, I would hesitate to try to draw any conclusions. Have lobster prices been falling? Are there unsold lobsters being used as fertilizer? How has Coronavirus impacted the lobster industry? Quite a lot, I would guess, both in the US and around the world. I doubt many people cook lobsters at home; they are a food eaten at restaurants primarily, I would guess.

tokidoki
tokidoki

So much winning.

Tony Bennett
Tony Bennett

Lobsters?!?!

Surely, you jest.

Seriously, micromanaging a sign of weakness in a CEO ... let alone POTUS. Hire GOOD people and let them figure out policy in accordance with your overall agenda.

Montana33
Montana33

The reality is that the US cannot compete with cheap labor in Asia and elsewhere, including food production. Even if we squash China manufacturing, it moves elsewhere but never here. The US can only compete in highly skilled industries which leaves a huge part of our population in a wage death spiral. The Republican strategy is a disaster. People are delusional if they think we can force global corporations to source low skilled jobs here. We need to up our game in education and investment in next gen industries. That’s what China does as we move backwards. They are poised to crush it in the next evolution in 5g, robotics and AI and more. We invest in military tech which we cannot sell. They invest in marketable technologies. We spend huge sums supporting old people and they spend almost none. Who gets the return on investment? I know we have to support old people. We are where we are.

davebarnes2
davebarnes2

"lobsters... instead of solving for a crisis at home that will be soon killing thousands a day again"
I did not know that something is going to be killing thousands of lobsters a day soon.

Captain Ahab
Captain Ahab

There are two stories of importance. One story puts Trump in a bad light. The other puts Trump in a good light. Which story do you publish?
What we are witnessing firsthand is censorship by omission.

njbr
njbr

But wait, it's Obummer's fault....

China is one of the biggest export destinations for lobster, which are trapped in the Atlantic Ocean by U.S. and Canadian fishermen. But Trump’s tariffs on Chinese goods resulted in retaliatory tariffs on U.S. lobster. Canadian lobstermen, not subject to the punitive tariffs, took control of the market to the frustration of Maine lobster exporters.

In a Wednesday tweet, Trump said former President Barack Obama “destroyed the lobster and fishing industry in Maine” and falsely said “it’s back, bigger and better than anyone ever thought possible.” The state’s lobster haul peaked by pound in 2012 and by price in 2016.

tokidoki
tokidoki

"Trade wars are easy to win"

...... for the other side.

debracarter
debracarter

The ocean was over fished, legally & illegally. It's good to have a break, less boats, pollution, noise, & people. Due to the less movement of, their could be an increase of fish, as they relax, & their habitat isn't under attack daily. We will see.


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