CANADA is poised to replace the US when it comes to supplying lobster-hungry China if Sino-American trade war breaks out.
"All hell is going to break loose as
far as the price," said New England lobsterman Billy Mahoney, adding
that China will then turn to Canada for lobster.
The US industry, like other sectors are feeling the pinch in even advance of a threatened trade war, reports Bloomberg.
Mr Mahoney, who sells his catch to a Massachusetts dealer, is already
getting 50 cents less per pound in anticipation of tariffs.
Mr Mahoney, at 70, says he is close to retirement, but he has a brother in the business as well as four cousins in the field.
Maine and Massachusetts together landed almost US$700 million worth of
lobster last year, 94 per cent of the national total. At the same time,
exports from Maine to China increased more than 30 per cent, according
to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
The traps used are also caught in the tariff crossfire. Steel
manufacturer Riverdale Mills Corp in Northbridge, Massachusetts,
supplies 85 per cent of the North American market for wire-mesh lobster
Riverdale Mills CEO Jim Knott said the price of the steel he uses, some
of it from Canada, has doubled since the beginning of the year in
anticipation of President Trump's 25 per cent steel levies on Canada and
"It puts handcuffs on us because we are unable to buy raw materials at a
competitive price," he said during an interview at his factory near
So far, Mr Knott has absorbed the added costs, but says he may have to
raise his prices by 15 per cent, and stocking up on American-made steel
is not a solution. "Many mills are booked out through October," he said.