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StarKist backs tuna tariffs, Bumble Bee says they are “devastating”

President and CEO Andrew Choe
US tuna giants split on impact of China tariffs

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — Intrafish Marketplace is reporting that many sectors of the fishing industry are in a state of shock over the China-US trade battle, and they're scrambling to measure its impact.

In its latest report, Undercurrent News says US tuna canning company Bumble Bee Foods warned the US Trade Representative (USTR) in a letter that the now-confirmed tariffs against imports of Chinese tuna would be "devastating" for the firm.

The tariffs -- which will come into play on Sept. 24 at 10%, and then go to 25% on Jan. 1, 2019 -- will hit US imports of yellowfin, skipjack, and albacore tuna loins, all of which are required by Bumble Bee's Santa Fe Springs, California factory, wrote CEO Jan Tharp.

However, Dongwon Industries-owned StarKist & Co backed the tariffs. President and CEO Andrew Choe wrote it was unlikely that an assessment of additional duties on the Chinese origin tuna and tuna products would cause disruption to the US economy or negatively impact US consumers, "as there are plentiful sources of supply for these products from countries other than China".

By far the main part of StarKist's operations is in Pago Pago, American Samoa, where it employs 2,400 workers.

Choe submitted comments to United States Trade Representative (USTR) Robert Lighthizer Sept. 6, stating the company "supports the government's proposed assessment of additional duties on Chinese-origin tuna and tuna products as an effective means to pressure the Chinese government to change its actions."

Read more at Undercurrent News