Once stymied by China tariff, lobster dealer finds a workaround

Tom Adams, CEO of Maine Coast lobster wholesale company in York, said he’s found ways to make up revenue that was lost when a 25% tariff was implemented last July on imports of lobster to China.

The tariff has taken a bite out of his company’s sales, Adams said. Previously, China had been Maine Coast’s fastest growing market, but the tariff eliminated 80% of Maine Coast’s sales to mainland China.

Overall, the value of live Maine lobsters exported to China dropped 64% in July 2018, compared with July 2017, industry experts said last year.

China now gets most of its lobster from Canada.

Adams told Mainebiz an aggressive marketing campaign has resulted in significant sales increases in other parts of Asia and in the U.S., and in retention of European sales even though that market was also disadvantaged by an 8% tariff over Canadian competitors. Other Asian countries include Hong Kong, Korea, Vietnam, Singapore, Taiwan and Malaysia.

“While we are able to make up a lot of that sales volume in different markets, it was challenging,” Adams said.

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