US still sends lots of lobster to China, but tariff a worry

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PORTLAND, Maine (AP) - Preliminary data from the federal government say U.S. lobster exports to China held steady this year, despite tariffs imposed during trade hostilities between the two countries.

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China is one of the biggest buyers of American lobster, which is hauled to the shore mostly in the New England states and Canada. But China placed heavy tariffs on lobsters from the U.S. in July in a development that sent shock waves through the seafood industry.

Figures from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration say the U.S. exported more than 17.6 million pounds of lobsters to China last year. The agency says the U.S. has nudged beyond that figure through November of this year.

Members of the industry caution the U.S. benefited from strong sales early in 2018, before the tariffs.