Sen. Collins touts ‘significant’ European Union trade victory for Maine lobstermen

Wed, 11/11/2020 - 7:00pm

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senator Susan Collins welcomed the news Wednesday the European Parliament’s trade committee voted 40-2 in support of an agreement to eliminate tariffs on live and frozen American lobster, which will help to substantially boost sales of Maine lobster to European markets.

The deal, per a news release, now awaits a vote by the full European Union parliament.

Several years ago, the European Union was a top destination for American lobster, accounting for approximately 15 to 20 percent of annual lobster exports, the release noted.

In 2017, the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) was implemented between Canada and the European Union, reducing tariffs to zero on live Canadian lobsters and eliminating tariffs over a period of several years on frozen and processed Canadian lobsters, according to the release.

“This put American lobster exporters at a serious disadvantage because, unlike Canadians, American exporters were facing tariffs of between 8 and 30 percent to sell into the European Union,” the release stated. 

The agreement will reduce tariffs on live and frozen U.S. lobsters to 0%, retroactive to August 1st. The agreement is expected to last for five years, with the European Union taking steps to make it permanent.

“The overwhelming support this trade agreement has received is encouraging news for Maine’s lobster industry, which has experienced a number of challenges in recent years ranging from the pandemic to the trade war,” said Senator Collins. “Once this significant victory is finalized, U.S. lobster will be placed on a level playing field with Canadian lobster, and this lucrative market will be reopened. I will continue to work closely with Maine’s hardworking lobstermen and women, processors, and dealers to help ensure the needs of this vital fishery are addressed.”