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Maine Congressional Delegation Asks For Proof That Trade Deal With China Will Help Maine Lobstermen

Robert F. Bukaty
AP File
In this Sept. 11, 2018 file photo, live lobsters are packed in coolers for shipment to China at The Lobster Company in Arundel, Maine.

Maine's Congressional delegation is asking the Trump administration for proof that its recent trade deal with China will actually make a difference for Maine's lobstermen.

Since the trade war ratcheted up, China has raised tariffs on U.S. lobster to more than 40 percent, forcing some dealers in Maine to significantly cut back on sales and their workforces.

The new agreement specifically calls on China to buy more lobster, but the delegation wants to know more. In a joint letter to U.S. trade representative Robert Lighthizer, they call on the administration to make public an actual dollar for renewed lobster sales to China.

"I wanted to start the letter (with 'show me the money" but everyone thought that was a little provocative."

Independent U.S. Senator Angus King says China has a long history of failing to follow through on its promises.

"To get lobster specifically mentioned in this list of products, I think, was significant. We just want to make sure it actually means what it appears to mean."

Trade representative Lighthizer's office did not respond to requests for comment.

A Columbia University graduate, Fred began his journalism career as a print reporter in Vermont, then came to Maine Public in 2001 as its political reporter, as well as serving as a host for a variety of Maine Public Radio and Maine Public Television programs. Fred later went on to become news director for New England Public Radio in Western Massachusetts and worked as a freelancer for National Public Radio and a number of regional public radio stations, including WBUR in Boston and NHPR in New Hampshire.