Trump's trade war deals heavy blow to Alaska's fishing industry

(UPDATE:  On Saturday afternoon, Sen. Lisa Murkowski released a statement saying she was "very concerned" about the impact of the Chinese tariffs on Alaska's fishing industry. On Sunday, Rep. Don Young said the situation was "very concerning." They did not criticize the president.)

The latest random act by President Trump has created a direct threat to the Alaska fishing industry.

Trump approved $50 billion in tariffs on Chinese goods Friday. Trump said he wanted to protect the "crown jewels" of the U.S. from China. China reacted the same day with tariffs of its own, including a 25 percent tariff on Alaska seafood.

About one-third of salmon exports from Alaska go to China, while total seafood exports from Alaska to China amounted to $750 million last year, SeafoodNews.com reported. The tariffs also cover frozen pollock, cod, snow and Dungeness crab and herring.

The Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute said it was "disappointed" with the news about the punitive tariffs from the largest export market for Alaska seafood.

Had the White House under President Obama done such swift damage to Alaska without a clear strategy or consultation, Sens. Lisa Murkowski, Dan Sullivan and Rep. Don Young would have said it was part of the "war on Alaska" the three of them made up in 2015.

The trio would have had their taxpayer-funded D.C. employees write bold statements for them with words like denounce, condemn, and outrage.

Their stinging rebukes would have been along the lines of this one from Murkowski on Jan. 26, 2015:  “We have said as a delegation that we will not stand it, we will not tolerate it, we will do everything we can to push back against an administration that has taken a look at Alaska and decided it’s a ‘nice little snow globe up there and we’re going to keep it that way.’ That’s not how you treat a state. Show us some respect."

Or as Diplomat Don put it at that time,  "this person has gone completely whacko."

But they see themselves as loyal members of Team Trump, not a separate branch of government, so they won't condemn, denounce or express outrage. He's their commander and they are afraid to cross him.

They will probably be concerned, frustrated and maybe even irked about the damage to the fishing industry. But meek and mild won't ignite the Trump Twitter finger or irritate the Alaska GOP.

As Murkowski said in March about Trump's inconsistency on steel and aluminum tariffs, “When you have kind of a suggestion out there today, and it turns into a promise the next day, and then after that it’s ‘never mind,’ that makes it difficult."

Or as Don Jr. said in response to Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker's complaints of a GOP cult, “You know what, if it’s a cult, it’s because they like what my father’s doing. You see real Americans actually winning for a change, conservatives actually getting things done."

So much winning.

 

Dermot Cole3 Comments