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US lawmakers urge Biden to ban Russian seafood processed in China!

Publish Date 2023-12-18
A large number of US lawmakers urge Biden to ban Russian seafood processed in China!

A large number of U.S. lawmakers put pressure on President Joe Biden on Thursday (December 14) to expand the ban on imports of Russian seafood to include Russian seafood processed by other countries, especially China.
Biden signed Executive Order No. 14068 in March 2022, announcing a ban on the import of Russian seafood, which will be officially implemented at the end of June 2023. The move was in response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Previously, Russia was the eighth largest source of seafood to the United States, with imports in 2021 of 48,867 tons worth US$1.2 billion, an increase of 34% from 2020.

Russian seafood exports to the United States in 2021 include approximately 80 items, but the most valuable are frozen snow crab and frozen red king crab. The export volume of frozen snow crab was 18,799 tons, valued at US$509.2 million, and the export volume of frozen red king crab was 8,486 tons, valued at US$419.7 million.

However, Biden's ban leaves a major loophole exploited by critics of the policy change. A significant portion of the seafood imported into the United States was actually caught in Russia and was only processed in the country and listed as coming from other countries, allowing the seafood to enter the United States under country-of-origin labeling regulations.

The letter submitted to Biden's office on Thursday (December 14) did not specify how much more Russian seafood was entering the United States, but noted that Russian seafood exports to China in the first 10 months of 2023 were up more than 30% compared with the same period in 2022. , more than doubled compared with 2021.

The United States imported $300 million in wild salmon and cod from China in 2022 — some of which was caught in the United States and processed in China, but most likely came from Russia, the International Trade Commission reported.

A source said: "A large amount of pollock and salmon, as well as Russian-caught cod and crab, enter the United States from China." He estimated that 90% of the pollock imported from China is Russian-caught.

Sources said it is difficult to measure how much Russian salmon is entering the U.S. from China because there are also large quantities of non-Russian salmon that can be processed in China.

The lawmakers' letter noted that Russia's new fishing quota auction is expected to raise nearly $4 billion this year alone, and the country has also increased fishing intensity, which will push the total catch to the highest level since the collapse of the Soviet Union and impose new Seafood export tax is 7%.

"We ask that you take urgent action to close this loophole," the letter said, signed by 24 Democrats and 14 Republicans. Seafood Sanctions – Excluding all Russian-caught seafood from the U.S. market, regardless of its transit through third countries, will have direct consequences for the Russian economy.”

It is suggested that these sanctions could lay the groundwork for a future joint G7 effort to persuade more countries to participate and/or expand the ban on Russian seafood. Lawmakers said they were encouraged by a November 27 European Council statement that will finalize a new rule to exclude all Russian-caught seafood from duty-free access to its Autonomous Tariff Quota system.

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