From Congress, a call to help fishermen caught in trade war

Pollock photo by NOAA Fishwatch

Democrats in the U.S. House are urging President Trump to give fisherman caught in the trade war with China the same benefits announced Tuesday for farmers.

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The Trump administration said it will provide $12 billion in emergency aid to American farmers. Producers of soy and other crops are facing stiff import taxes on products they send to China, now that China has retaliated in response to President Trump’s first round of tariffs.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski issued a statement yesterday calling the aid to farmers an admission that “tariffs are hurting, not helping, our country.” She said American fishermen are also caught in the crossfire.

Four U.S. House Democrats, including Rep. Raul Grijalva of Arizona, the top Democrat on the House Natural Resources Committee, sent a letter Wednesday addressed to the president and the Commerce Secretary. They say America’s fishermen are hurt coming and going. First, they wrote, fishermen were disadvantaged by the U.S. tariff on imported steel and aluminum, which raises the cost of boats, crab traps and other metal gear. Now China has slapped a 25 percent retaliatory tariff on American seafood.

Alaska companies export about $1 billion worth of seafood to China annually.

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Liz Ruskin is the Washington, D.C., correspondent for Alaska Public Media. She reports from the U.S. Capitol and from Anchorage. Reach her at