The four members of Maine’s congressional delegation sent a letter Friday urging President Trump to provide relief to members of the lobster industry affected by the ongoing trade war with China – much as American farmers received government support to mitigate negative economic consequences.

The letter from Sens. Angus King and Susan Collins, and Reps. Chellie Pingree and Jared Golden emphasizes the importance of the Chinese market to Maine’s lobster industry, and notes that the impact of the trade war is compounded by other economic and ecological challenges facing the iconic Maine industry. The lobster industry has an economic impact of about $1.5 billion per year in Maine and is a key economic engine for coastal communities, a release from the delegation said.

The statement noted that the lobster industry has not been included in the administration’s $16 billion agricultural aid package, despite the product being among the first to be targeted by Chinese tariffs.

The letter marks the delegation’s latest efforts to advocate for the lobster industry in trade negotiations.

Last summer, Pingree co-sponsored a bill to allow lobstermen to seek disaster relief from the tariffs. In February, the Maine delegation called on U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to make the lobster industry a priority in the ongoing trade negotiations with China. In June 2018, the delegation hosted a meeting between top U.S. Trade Representative officials and members of the Maine Lobster Dealers’ Association to discuss the impact of federal trade policies on the state’s lobster industry. 

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