Sullivan and Murkowski introduce bill to ban Russian seafood imports
Russia bans US seafood imports since 2014
US Senators Dan Sullivan and Lisa Murkowski (both R-Alaska) introduced the United States-Russian Federation Seafood Reciprocity Actlegislation that would impose a ban on the import of all Russian seafood products into the United States in response to Russia’s ban on imports of American seafood and other Western seafood products since 2014. Russia imposed its embargo in response to a series of sanctions the United States and its allies imposed following Russia’s 2014 invasion of the Crimean Peninsula in Ukraine.
“Most Americans would be surprised to learn that Russia has unlimited access to sell its seafood in the United States, while American fishers and seafood processors have no access to the Russian market,” he added. said Senator Sullivan. “This is simply wrong and hurts our fishermen. For years, I have lobbied officials at all levels, from the Oval Office down, to pursue a seafood trading relationship. with Russia based on principles that any American can understand: fairness and reciprocity. We don’t have that right now, and Vladimir Putin benefits hugely at the expense of our fishermen here at home, the value of Russian imports of seafood sea in the United States having increased by 173% since 2013, the year before the embargo was imposed.The urgent interest of the Senate in sanctioning Russia for its continuous threats against Ukraine offers a window of opportunity for correct this unacceptable trade imbalance. I hope my colleagues will join me and Senator Murkowski in defending our world-class fisheries and this vital sector of our economy.
“As Congress works on a sanctions package to deter Russia from invading Ukraine, it is important that we explore all sectors of the Russian economy that we can influence, such as restricting seafood imports Russians,” he added. said Senator Murkowski. “Americans — and Alaskans in particular — have faced a unilateral Russian embargo on our seafood since 2014, allowing the Russian economy to benefit while U.S. seafood has been harmed. hopes that after years of pushing this issue, this Congress and the Biden administration will finally agree to equalize the treatment of Alaska’s world-class seafood. It’s a perfect addition to a package meant to show everyone. Russia that undermining and disrupting global norms will not go unpunished.
“Since Russia launched its embargo, Alaskan seafood producers have suffered unfairly by being excluded from major Russian seafood markets,” says Chris Barrows, president of the Pacific Seafood Processors Association. “We are grateful to the Alaska congressional delegation for working tirelessly across multiple jurisdictions to address this glaring trade imbalance and support domestically harvested seafood made more difficult by seemingly intractable geopolitical forces. Through Senator Sullivan’s bill, he and Senator Murkowski are once again leading this issue and showing their determination to defend our industry, until free and fair trade can be restored.
Background to the Alaska Congressional Delegation’s work on behalf of the Alaskan seafood industry:
- In 2016, President Barack Obama signed legislation that included a provision written by Senator Sullivan that demands that fisheries be included as a primary negotiating objective for all future trade agreements.
- In August 2018, Senator Sullivan testified before the United States International Trade Commission against the inclusion of Alaskan seafood products in the $200 billion tariffs on Chinese imports proposed by the Trump administration, and highlighted the economic impact of the Russian embargo on American seafood.
- In October 2018, the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) removed proposed tariffs on Alaskan salmon from the tariff package.
- On June 9, 2019, the Alaska Congressional Delegation sent a letter to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue urging the Trump administration to relieve Alaskan seafood harvesters and processors, as it has done for the nation’s agriculture industry, from the devastating effects of retaliatory tariffs inflicted to American products by China.
- In January 2020, the Senate adopted the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) trade agreement, which included an entire chapter on fisheries, including the phasing out of subsidies, the fight against illegal fishing, the banning of certain vessels and operations, and the reduction and elimination of tariffs.
- On January 28, 2021, the Alaska Congressional Delegation sent a letter calling on Acting Agriculture Secretary Kevin Shea to quickly develop and robustly fund a program to provide grants and forgivable loan support to seafood processing facilities and processing vessels to COVID-19 response measures, consistent with Senator Murkowski’s wording included in the Consolidated Appropriation Act of 2021.
- On May 14, 2021, the Alaska congressional delegation welcomed the USDA’s approval of a Purchasing under Section 32 up to $159.4 million in domestically produced seafood, fruits, pulses and nuts to distribute to food assistance programs in Alaska and across the country, to help offset the effects of market restrictions by foreign countries.