The United States lobster industry landed a much-needed trade victory on Friday, but not the one anyone was expecting.
The U.S. and the European Union announced a trade deal that eliminates all tariffs on U.S. lobster, which were 8 percent on live lobster and up to 20 percent on frozen. The deal puts U.S. lobster dealers on equal footing with their Canadian rivals for the first time since 2017, when Canada signed a trade deal that zeroed out tariffs on their EU-bound lobsters.
The U.S. sold $104 million worth of lobster to Europe in 2017, accounting for about 20 percent of total U.S. lobster sales abroad, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s foreign trade division. Last year, unable to compete with tariff-free Canadian lobsters, U.S. lobster sales to Europe fell to less than half that, or about $51 million, data shows.
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