China appears ready to lift import duties on lobster, as part of a general relaxation of tariffs in the wake of a trade deal with the U.S.
Chinese businesses will be allowed to apply for an exemption that would let them buy lobster at a 7% markup, instead of the 30% tariff that was imposed in 2018 as part of the trade war with the Trump administration. Officials from Maine, where lobster is a major industry, have been pressuring U.S. trade officials to negotiate lower lobster tariffs.
Chinese importers would have to apply for an exemption every year. The Maine lobster industry is hoping to make them permanent.
The lobster deal appears to be part of a general loosening of tariffs by the Chinese after a trade deal with the U.S. took effect on Feb. 14. The deal, which calls for $32 billion more in agricultural purchases by China over two years, has already resulted in announcements that China will lift import restrictions on U.S. poultry and pet food.