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Chinese seafood hit by tariffs as US steps up trade war

US President Trump follows through on threat of $200 billion package of measures on Chinese goods.

Cod, shrimp, salmon and tilapia products are among an extensive list of Chinese seafood imports potentially facing import tariffs of up to 10 percent as US President Donald Trump follows through on threats to step up its trade dispute with Beijing.

The additional 10 percent tariff is being imposed on Chinese goods worth a total of $200 billion (€170.5 billion).

The extensive list of fish and seafood imports runs to pages and includes products produced from Pacific and Atlantic salmon, coldwater and other shrimp, Alaska pollock, hake, catfish as well as pelagic fish, shellfish, squid and octopus.

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Trump administration officials appear at least to some extent to have heeded calls from US shrimp and crayfish producers by imposing tariffs on Chinese shrimp, rock lobster, crabs and other crustaceans.

Both fresh and frozen seafood products are included as part the latest round of measures that come amid an escalating tit-for-tat trade war, which began in January when the US government slapped tariffs on Chinese solar panels.

Since standing as a presidential candidate, Trump pledged to address a growing trade deficit with China, which he argues has been taking American jobs and destroying manufacturing and other industries.

"In light of China’s response to the $50 billion [€42.6 billion] action announced in the investigation and its refusal to change its acts, policies, and practices , it has become apparent that US action at this level is not sufficient to obtain the elimination of China’s acts, policies, and practices covered in the investigation," the Office of the US Trade Representative said in a summary of the latest action.

"Accordingly, the trade representative is proposing to modify the action in this investigation by maintaining the original $34 billion [€29 billion] action and the proposed $16 billion [€13.6 billion] action, and by taking a further, supplemental action."

As many feared, the US seafood industry has now become a battleground in the simmering trade war between the United States and China.

Last month China announced it would impose tariffs of 25 percent on US seafood that includes Alaska salmon, pollock and groundfish starting July 6 in response to President Trump's earlier announced tariffs on Chinese goods.

As Trump threatened this latest action on another $200 billion (€170.5 billion) of Chinese goods Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski and Congressman Don Young urged him to reach a trade policy agreement with China that protects the export market.

The National Fisheries Institute (NFI) previously has said it was deeply disappointed by the retaliatory tariffs by China and the Trump administration's misguided policy.

In May, the US Southern Shrimp Alliance supported a letter written in April by Senator John Kennedy asking President Trump to add Chinese crawfish and shrimp to the list of tariffs.

In response, groups representing seafood processors released a letter sent to the USTR office, asking the government to refrain from targeting Chinese seafood products.

Click here for a full timeline of the events.

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