The Lobster Casualties of the Trade War

Remso Martinez Comments

Americans are learning the hard way how tariffs are affecting unique industries in the trade war waged by President Trump and the Chinese. What might be a surprise to many is that one industry we all took for granted might find itself in boiling water should the trade war escalate – the lobster industry, that is.

According to a recent report from CNN, one such company is dealing with this trade war the hard way.

Reporter Katie Lobosco writes that in 2017, the “Maine Coast Company was shipping 2 million pounds of live lobster– worth $12 million — to China annually.”

The problem now is, since the Trump tariffs went into effect, “China slapped a tariff on US lobsters in July of 2018, and about 20% of Maine Coast’s sales instantly evaporated.”

American jobs, taxes, and lobsters are the casualties in the trade war between two hostile trading partners who are using the marketplace as their personal playground.

For some readers, you might not think the lobster industry being bloodied is worth an unequal trading system, but for America’s farmers in the heartland, they might disagree with you.

Lobosco points out that “Farmers in the Midwest were hit especially hard because China put tariffs on a variety of agricultural products ranging from soybeans and corn to wheat and pork.US manufacturers are paying the tariffs Trump has put on some industrial materials and American importers are facing higher prices for a variety of Chinese-made goods, like TVs, sneakers, and bikes.”

Last I checked, without thriving farmers, we find ourselves in a bit of a predicament.

While the road to economic warfare continues to be paved by the resources and labor of the citizenry for whatever politically expedient of the moment there is, some truths will never change.

Tariffs are taxes on the very same people politicians vow to protect and fight on their behalf against the mean trading partners – who will also be hit in numerous ways – simply continuing the cycle of economic retaliation.

Around the time that the initial round of tariffs went into effect in 2018, the Editors at the Mises Institute put it rather plainly, stating that, “American taxes represent an attack on American consumers, American taxpayers, and American entrepreneurs. The Trump administration’s tariff policy will reduce real incomes and raise the cost of doing business. There is no upside.”

The next time you see a lobster on ice, maybe you’ll be a bit more empathetic knowing you’re both being played for the expense of others.

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