Legislature(2021 - 2022)SENATE FINANCE 532


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03:31:52 PM Start
03:33:06 PM Presentation: Barriers to Global Seafood Trade by At-sea Processors Association
04:36:50 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Joint Meeting with Senate Resources Committee
+ Presentation: Barriers to Global Seafood Trade by TELECONFERENCED
At-Sea Processors Association
-- Testimony <Invitation Only> --
**Streamed live on AKL.tv**
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
                         JOINT MEETING                                                                                        
            SENATE SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON WORLD TRADE                                                                           
              SENATE RESOURCES STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                             
                         April 21, 2021                                                                                         
                           3:31 p.m.                                                                                            
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
SENATE RESOURCES                                                                                                                
 Senator Joshua Revak, Chair                                                                                                    
 Senator Peter Micciche, Vice Chair                                                                                             
 Senator Gary Stevens                                                                                                           
 Senator Natasha von Imhof                                                                                                      
 Senator Jesse Kiehl                                                                                                            
 Senator Scott Kawasaki                                                                                                         
SENATE SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON WORLD TRADE                                                                                         
 Senator Gary Stevens, Chair                                                                                                    
 Senator Lyman Hoffman                                                                                                          
 Senator Shelley Hughes                                                                                                         
 Senator Peter Micciche                                                                                                         
 Senator Tom Begich                                                                                                             
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
SENATE RESOURCES                                                                                                                
 Senator Click Bishop                                                                                                           
SENATE SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON WORLD TRADE                                                                                         
 Senator Click Bishop                                                                                                           
 Senator Bert Stedman                                                                                                           
OTHER LEGISLATORS PRESENT                                                                                                     
Senator David Wilson                                                                                                            
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
PRESENTATION: BARRIERS TO GLOBAL SEAFOOD TRADE BY AT-SEA                                                                        
PROCESSORS ASSOCIATION                                                                                                          
     - HEARD                                                                                                                    
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
No previous action to record                                                                                                    
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
STEPHANIE MADSEN, Executive Director                                                                                            
At-Sea Processors Association                                                                                                   
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Co-presented a  PowerPoint on the barriers to                                                             
the global seafood trade.                                                                                                       
MATT TINNING, Director of Sustainability and Public Affairs                                                                     
At-Sea Processors Association                                                                                                   
Washington, D.C.                                                                                                                
POSITION STATEMENT: Co-presented a  PowerPoint on the barriers to                                                             
the global seafood trade.                                                                                                       
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
3:31:52 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  GARY  STEVENS  called  the joint  meeting  of  the  Senate                                                             
Special  Committee  on  World  Trade  and  the  Senate  Resources                                                               
Standing Committee to  order at 3:31 p.m. Present at  the call to                                                               
order  from the  Senate  Special Committee  on  World Trade  were                                                               
Senators Begich,  Hoffman, Hughes,  Micciche, and  Chair Stevens;                                                               
and  present from  the Senate  Resources Standing  Committee were                                                               
Senators  Micciche,  Stevens,  von Imhof,  Kiehl,  Kawasaki,  and                                                               
Chair Revak.                                                                                                                    
^PRESENTATION:  Barriers  to  Global   Seafood  Trade  by  At-Sea                                                               
Processors Association                                                                                                          
    PRESENTATION: Barriers to Global Seafood Trade by At-Sea                                                                
                     Processors Association                                                                                 
3:33:06 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR STEVENS announced the business  before the committees would                                                               
be a  presentation from the  At-Sea Processors  Association about                                                               
Alaska  seafood and  the  U.S. trade  policy.  He introduced  the                                                               
presenters, Stephanie Madsen and Matt Tinning.                                                                                  
3:35:28 PM                                                                                                                    
STEPHANIE   MADSEN,   Executive   Director,   At-Sea   Processors                                                               
Association,  Juneau,  Alaska, shared  that  she  came to  Alaska                                                               
about 50 years  ago to work for  her aunt and uncle  in their air                                                               
taxi  service in  Cordova. She  met her  late husband  who was  a                                                               
pilot born  and raised in Kodiak,  so it was not  a surprise that                                                               
they moved  to Kodiak. She  taught school  and her husband  was a                                                               
fish  spotter  looking  for  hearing.   After  several  years  an                                                               
opportunity  came up  in  Unalaska Dutch  Harbor  to fly  Grumman                                                               
goose airplanes. Over the next  19 years they watched the foreign                                                               
fleets  and  the  development of  a  fully  domesticated  federal                                                               
fishery.  She  reminded members  that  the  Magnuson Stevens  Act                                                               
allows the U.S. to manage fisheries from 3-200 miles offshore.                                                                  
MS. MADSEN deferred to Mr. Tinning to talk about his history.                                                                   
3:39:56 PM                                                                                                                    
MATT TINNING, Director of Sustainability  and Public Affairs, At-                                                               
Sea  Processors Association,  Washington, D.C.,  stated that  for                                                               
the  last two  years  he has  been privileged  to  work with  the                                                               
Alaska  seafood  industry.  Coming  from  Australia,  he  quickly                                                               
learned that there  is nothing like Alaska  seafood anywhere else                                                               
in the  world. He  said he  works at both  the federal  level and                                                               
globally   to  ensure   that   Alaska's   global  leadership   on                                                               
sustainable seafood is recognized and rewarded.                                                                                 
3:40:38 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. MADSEN displayed the image on  slide 3 of Senator Stevens and                                                               
two  others  showing affection  for  a  larger than  life  Alaska                                                               
Pollock.  She described  Alaska  Pollack in  terms  of the  three                                                               
"S's," the first of which is  size. She directed attention to the                                                               
pie chart  on slide 4  that shows Wild Alaska  Pollack represents                                                               
just more  than one-third  of the fish  landed in  federal waters                                                               
that extend  from Hawaii to the  Pacific coast to New  England to                                                               
the  Caribbean. At  1.3 metric  tons, it  is the  largest seafood                                                               
fishery  in  the world.  Only  the  Peruvian anchorite  reduction                                                               
fishery is  larger. She said it  is this scale that  makes Alaska                                                               
an  international powerhouse.  This single  fishery accounts  for                                                               
about 20 percent of global wild caught white fish production.                                                                   
MS.   MADSEN  said   sustainability  is   the  second   "S."  She                                                               
characterized the  North Pacific  fishery management as  the envy                                                               
of   the  world,   and  expressed   pride  in   the  decades-long                                                               
sustainability story. She said features  of the management system                                                               
include: precautionary  science based  caching limits set  by the                                                               
North  Pacific   Fishery  Management  Council;   two  independent                                                               
observers on every vessel in  the fleet monitoring operations and                                                               
recording everything  that is caught  on scales and  cameras; one                                                               
of the  lowest bycatch  rates of any  large-scale fishery  in the                                                               
world.  More than  98 percent  of what  comes up  in the  nets is                                                               
pollack. It  is one of the  lowest carbon footprints of  that any                                                               
protein. An  independent lifecycle  analysis is  forthcoming that                                                               
will show eating Pollack it  is less carbon intensive then eating                                                               
vegan. The fish is used 100  percent. Most of the vessels produce                                                               
fishmeal and  fish oil with  the parts of  the fish not  used for                                                               
core products. Nothing  goes to waste. She said there  is more to                                                               
the story,  but it is  sufficient to  say she would  put Alaska's                                                               
sustainability record up against any  other fishery in the world.                                                               
That  record  has  been consistently  recognized  by  independent                                                               
certifiers,  including the  Marine  Stewardship  Council and  the                                                               
sustainability  certification by  the Alaska  Responsible Fishing                                                               
Management team.                                                                                                                
3:44:36 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  KAWASAKI asked  if the  sustainable certificate  applied                                                               
only to Alaska Pollack.                                                                                                         
MS. MADSEN answered  no; a lot of Alaska seafood  is certified as                                                               
sustainably managed  by both entities.  This includes but  is not                                                               
exclusive to crab, cod, halibut, and sablefish.                                                                                 
SENATOR   KAWASAKI   asked    if   the   certifications   applied                                                               
specifically to fisheries  in the Bering Sea that  operate in the                                                               
same regions as the trawler fleet.                                                                                              
MS. MADSEN answered  no; the certifications apply  to pollack and                                                               
a number of  other fisheries in both the Bering  Sea and the Gulf                                                               
of Alaska.                                                                                                                      
SENATOR KAWASAKI cited  a 2020 article on  sablefish bycatch that                                                               
said that  for the  second year  in a row,  the Bering  Sea trawl                                                               
fishery caught  more sablefish as  bycatch than  their allocation                                                               
allowed  - by  484  percent  in 2020  and  356  percent the  year                                                               
before. Together, the over catch  was 11 million pounds. He asked                                                               
her  to speak  to  mitigation  efforts to  prevent  that type  of                                                               
MS.  MADSEN  answered  their fleet  had  not  encountered  excess                                                               
sablefish,  but they  had seen  a change  in the  distribution of                                                               
species across  the shelf and  in the deep. Changes  in encounter                                                               
rates can be  expected when distribution changes.  She added that                                                               
the  stock was  healthy in  the Bering  Sea and  the fishery  was                                                               
expanding.  She  suggested  members   look  for  the  forthcoming                                                               
discussion paper on the overages from the North Pacific Council.                                                                
3:47:53 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR KAWASAKI mentioned a program  that allows bycatch Chinook                                                               
and chum  salmon headed up  the Yukon from  the Bering Sea  to be                                                               
used  during  times  of  emergency. He  asked  if  the  sablefish                                                               
fishery had a similar program.                                                                                                  
MS. MADSEN answered  no. Bycatch salmon and halibut  are the only                                                               
species that are  permitted to be used in the  Food Bank Program,                                                               
although  the rules  are different  depending on  the fleet.  She                                                               
noted  that  their fleet  participates  in  the program  for  the                                                               
incidental catch  of Chinook and  chum but not halibut.  There is                                                               
no program for  sablefish because it is not  a prohibited species                                                               
catch. It  goes on discard  if too much is  caught but it  is not                                                               
prohibited. Salmon, herring, halibut, and  crab in some cases are                                                               
prohibited species and  just salmon and halibut  are eligible for                                                               
the Food Bank Program.                                                                                                          
3:49:29 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR STEVENS  asked her  to talk about  the efforts  to decrease                                                               
MS.  MADSEN replied  that  their fleet  has  incidental catch  of                                                               
Chinook and chum salmon. There are  caps for Chinook and if those                                                               
are exceeded, the  fleet is shut down. In order  to incentivize a                                                               
performance standard  and prevent,  they developed a  data driven                                                               
program  of rolling  hotspot closure  to prevent  the fleet  from                                                               
having to move out of an  area entirely. She offered to share the                                                               
information they recently presented  to the North Pacific Council                                                               
that talks about  the program. She added that if  they exceed the                                                               
threshold for herring, they are  excluded from certain areas. For                                                               
example, the catcher  processor (CP) fleet lost an  area the size                                                               
of Maryland  in the northern  Bering Sea. She offered  to provide                                                               
more  information  or  meet  one-on-one  if  anyone  wanted  more                                                               
detailed information.                                                                                                           
CHAIR STEVENS expressed satisfaction with the answer.                                                                           
3:52:52 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. MADSEN  returned to the  presentation and explained  that the                                                               
third  S  stands for  scrumptious.  She  advised that  an  Alaska                                                               
pollock  sandwich  could  be  found  in a  number  of  fast  food                                                               
establishments.  In an  effort to  expand the  range of  consumer                                                               
products   that  incorporate   Alaska   pollock,  ASPA's   sister                                                               
organization,  Genuine  Alaska   Pollock  Producers  (GAPP),  has                                                               
developed partnerships with consumer  brands to build markets for                                                               
products  such as  pollock noodles,  pollock wild  wings, pollock                                                               
jerky, and  snackable pollock surimi. She  encouraged the members                                                               
to try them all.                                                                                                                
MS. MADSEN  stated that Alaska  pollock is  just one of  the many                                                               
Alaska and North  Pacific fisheries that feed people  in the U.S.                                                               
and  globally.  She reported  that  approximately  25 percent  of                                                               
Alaska seafood is  purchased by U.S. consumers.  According to the                                                               
Alaska Seafood  Marketing Institute (ASMI), 75  percent of Alaska                                                               
seafood production is exported annually  to 100 countries, and 80                                                               
percent of Alaska  pollock goes to export markets.  She said ASMI                                                               
is doing  a terrific job of  building a brand for  Alaska seafood                                                               
in  U.S.  markets.  However, the  potential  benefit  from  those                                                               
marketing efforts pale in comparison  to the importance of access                                                               
to export  markets. Because 75  percent of Alaska seafood  is not                                                               
consumed  domestically, the  Alaska  seafood  industry lives  and                                                               
dies  based on  whether  it  can export  the  catch to  consumers                                                               
outside the  U.S. Unfortunately,  despite best efforts  to secure                                                               
good  outcomes from  federal trade  policy and  negotiations, the                                                               
current state of affairs remains extremely challenging.                                                                         
SENATOR BEGICH  asked what the  colored circles on the  world map                                                               
3:56:28 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR VON IMHOF joined the committee meeting.                                                                                 
MS. MADSEN replied  the slide came from ASMI and  she didn't know                                                               
what the  colors represent, but the  size of the circles  seem to                                                               
represent the size of the market in the different countries.                                                                    
3:57:10 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. TINNING continued  the presentation. He related  that when he                                                               
started working  with the At-Sea Processors  Association in 2018,                                                               
it  was   clear  that  Alaska   seafood  was  not   reaching  the                                                               
international  markets.  This  was   a  problem  for  all  Alaska                                                               
seafood, not just pollock.                                                                                                      
[Audio difficulties from 3:57 to 3:58]                                                                                          
3:58:08 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. TINNING  continued to say  that that despite working  on fair                                                               
access for Alaska seafood over  two administrations, trade policy                                                               
has not changed  very much. It is not a  level playing field, and                                                               
the  more  acute examples  of  the  imbalance  are in  China  and                                                               
Russia.  The  crisis  became  acute   in  2018  after  the  Trump                                                               
administration imposed a series of  tariffs on Chinese imports to                                                               
the  U.S.  On July  6,  2018  China  retaliated with  25  percent                                                               
tariffs on a  range of U.S. goods that included  all U.S. seafood                                                               
products.  Alaska  pollock  and  all  other  Alaska  seafood  was                                                               
immediately  disadvantaged by  the acutely  out of  level playing                                                               
field. The  tariff on Alaska  pollock and other U.S.  seafood was                                                               
30 percent whereas Russian pollock had a 7 percent tariff.                                                                      
MR. TINNING  explained that the Alaska  seafood industry's export                                                               
model and planned growth trajectory  was based on the expectation                                                               
that  the increase  in sales  into China  would be  massive. That                                                               
changed overnight  when the 25  percent tariff went  into effect.                                                               
Those tariffs  increased to  35 percent a  few months  later, and                                                               
settled to 30 percent after the  conclusion of the phase one deal                                                               
in January  2020. Today, Alaska pollock  goes to China with  a 37                                                               
percent  tariff whereas  Russian pollock  goes with  a 7  percent                                                               
4:00:43 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. TINNING  directed attention to  the line graph  that reflects                                                               
the results of  the 30 percent tariffs on U.S.  seafood. The blue                                                               
line at  the top  of the  graph shows  the trajectory  of seafood                                                               
exports into China  from all countries in the world.  By 2019 the                                                               
exports were 89 percent above  the 2017 baseline. That dropped to                                                               
35 percent  in 2020, largely  due to  COVID-19. He said  this was                                                               
clearly a massive  boost for seafood producers  around the globe,                                                               
but it has  been a different story for U.S.  seafood exports into                                                               
China. He  pointed to the  red line that represents  U.S. seafood                                                               
exports into  China. It shows  that despite the huge  increase in                                                               
consumption  of seafood  in  China, by  2020  the consumption  of                                                               
seafood  from the  U.S.  dropped  to 44  percent  below the  2017                                                               
baseline. The bottom line shows  that Alaska pollock was hit even                                                               
harder. By  2020 it was  55 percent  below the 2017  baseline. He                                                               
described the situation as dire.                                                                                                
4:02:25 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR MICCICHE noted  that in 2018 exports into  China from all                                                               
countries  increased 41  percent  whereas exports  from the  U.S.                                                               
dropped 14  percent. He asked,  "Who was supplying  the remainder                                                               
of the market that was increasing that quickly?"                                                                                
MR. TINNING replied  the decline only started in  July 2018 after                                                               
the tariffs were increased.                                                                                                     
4:03:54 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR STEVENS  announced Senator  von Imhof joined  the committee                                                               
SENATOR  KIEHL asked  if the  seafood exports  were all  the same                                                               
type of seafood product or if some was seafood protein.                                                                         
MR. TINNING answered  he was not sure because the  data came from                                                               
ASMI, but he believes it was an apples-to-apples comparison.                                                                    
4:04:59 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  MICCICHE asked  what countries  are  represented in  the                                                               
"From All Countries" data.                                                                                                      
4:05:31 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. TINNING  replied all seafood  exporting countries  except the                                                               
U.S. have  benefitted, but Russia  is the big winner  for pollock                                                               
exports into China.                                                                                                             
CHAIR  STEVENS recalled  that  at one  time  Russian pollock  was                                                               
advertised and  sold as  Alaskan pollock. He  said he  hoped that                                                               
had changed.                                                                                                                    
MR. TINNING  said Senator Murkowski  was able to  get legislation                                                               
passed that  prohibited that  practice in  the U.S.,  but Russian                                                               
pollock continues to be marketed as Alaskan pollock in Europe.                                                                  
CHAIR STEVENS asked him to continue.                                                                                            
4:07:02 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. TINNING displayed  a bar graph that shows  the steady decline                                                               
in Alaska  seafood exports  to China from  2017 through  2020. He                                                               
opined  that if  it weren't  for the  tariffs, the  value of  the                                                               
exports in 2018, 2019, and 2020  would register off the chart. He                                                               
said  one other  piece  of  the China  puzzle  is  the chapter  6                                                               
commitments  of   the  phase  one  trade   agreement,  which  was                                                               
concluded during the Trump administration.  In an effort to pause                                                               
the  escalating  trade  war,   chapter  6  committed  significant                                                               
product  purchases  from the  U.S.,  including  food. The  At-Sea                                                               
Processors Association  was pleased that seafood  was included as                                                               
one of six categories of  agricultural food purchase commitments.                                                               
However, while  China significantly  increased purchases  of U.S.                                                               
wheat and soybeans through the  second half of 2020, U.S. seafood                                                               
did not enjoy the same bump.  China is out of compliance with its                                                               
phase one commitments on seafood  purchases, and there is no sign                                                               
that will change.                                                                                                               
4:10:00 PM                                                                                                                    
MR.  TINNING advised  that Russia  also  took restrictive  action                                                               
against U.S. seafood, including  Alaska pollock. The U.S. imposed                                                               
sanctions on Russia  after it annexed part of  eastern Crimea and                                                               
Russia retaliated  in 2014  by closing its  market to  almost all                                                               
U.S. seafood.  ASPA saw a key  market evaporate and there  are no                                                               
clear prospects  for that to  change. He said it  is particularly                                                               
galling that Russian  seafood continues to enter  the U.S. tariff                                                               
4:11:04 PM                                                                                                                    
MR.  TINNING directed  attention to  the line  graph on  slide 13                                                               
that  shows the  dollar amounts  of the  U.S. and  Russia seafood                                                               
trade  from 2005  to  2018.  The blue  line  shows an  increasing                                                               
amount of U.S./Alaska  seafood exports into Russia  until the ban                                                               
in 2014  when they  essentially dropped  to zero.  By comparison,                                                               
the red  line shows the  amount of Russian seafood  imported into                                                               
the duty  free U.S. seafood  market, which is the  second largest                                                               
in  the  world.  Russian  seafood  imports  into  the  U.S.  have                                                               
increased by more than 60  percent since Russia closed its market                                                               
to the U.S. in 2014. He  described this as perhaps the most acute                                                               
example of an unlevel playing field.                                                                                            
4:12:18 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR BEGICH asked if he  said that in the last administration,                                                               
Russia prohibited  the import of  U.S. seafood products  while it                                                               
doubled seafood exports to the U.S., tariff free.                                                                               
MR. TINNING  clarified that the  market closure was  in President                                                               
Obama's second term,  it continued under President  Trump, and it                                                               
continues today.  Further, Russian  imports of  seafood increased                                                               
63 percent since 2013, so it didn't quite double.                                                                               
4:13:49 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR HUGHES asked if there has  been an effort to correct this                                                               
and if so, the status of the effort.                                                                                            
MR.  TINNING  replied  the  Alaska delegation  is  aware  of  the                                                               
problem, ASMI  produced a  white paper on  the matter  last year,                                                               
and  ASPA has  flagged the  issue with  the White  House in  each                                                               
administration, but  there has been  no change. "We feel  like we                                                               
are bit  players in  a large geopolitical  tension, and  we don't                                                               
know how to move the needle  on that." He welcomed ideas from the                                                               
SENATOR  HUGHES  suggested  the  legislature  send  a  resolution                                                               
urging the matter be addressed.                                                                                                 
SENATOR MICCICHE  commented on  the need  to take  more proactive                                                               
steps to correct the unfair  situation that is disproportionately                                                               
affecting Alaska.                                                                                                               
CHAIR STEVENS committed to pursue  the issue with both Ms. Madsen                                                               
and Mr. Tinning.                                                                                                                
4:16:29 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  HOFFMAN referenced  slide 10  and asked  Mr. Tinning  to                                                               
provide the  percentages of the  products broken down  by species                                                               
so the committee can get an  idea of what products are being sold                                                               
from Russia into the U.S.                                                                                                       
4:17:24 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. TINNING agreed to provide  the information. He noted that the                                                               
products   coming    from   Russia   like   pollack    and   crab                                                               
disproportionately  compete  with  Alaska  seafood  in  the  U.S.                                                               
MR. TINNING continued  the presentation with a  discussion of the                                                               
tariffs on U.S.  seafood exports into Japan. He  noted that while                                                               
they  are  not   prohibitive  at  up  to  10.5   percent,  it  is                                                               
challenging that  Japan has initiated free  trade agreements with                                                               
third country  competitors while the  U.S. has not  increased its                                                               
market  access.  That  was  particularly  disappointing  in  2019                                                               
because the Trump  administration had concluded a  phase one deal                                                               
with  Japan that  focused  on agriculture.  It  gave more  market                                                               
access  to an  array  of  food commodities,  but  nothing in  the                                                               
agreement was about seafood.                                                                                                    
4:20:25 PM                                                                                                                    
MR.  TINNING said  the European  seafood market  is critical  for                                                               
Alaska seafood but  it has two challenges. The first  is that the                                                               
only  way  to  get  tariff-free   access  is  under  the  archaic                                                               
autonomous tariff  quota (ATQ) system. Under  that system, Europe                                                               
sets  a product-by-product  quota that  it will  let into  Europe                                                               
tariff free. Once  that quota is met tariffs of  up to 17 percent                                                               
are  imposed  on  further  imports   of  the  particular  seafood                                                               
product.  ASPA would  like that  to  be addressed  in trade  with                                                               
The second challenge  is that Alaska seafood has  been a constant                                                               
pawn  in  the  trans-Atlantic  trade  fight.  For  example,  U.S.                                                               
seafood saw  retaliatory tariffs  late last  year related  to the                                                               
Boeing-Airbus trade dispute, even  though the dispute had nothing                                                               
to  do with  seafood. Alaska  pollock was  exempt but  salmon was                                                               
not.  He said  there is  a four  month pause  but the  25 percent                                                               
retaliatory  tariffs will  go back  into effect  soon unless  the                                                               
Biden administration reaches  a deal. He said it is  not the kind                                                               
of  crisis U.S.  seafood faces  in China  and Russia,  but it  is                                                               
still a concern.                                                                                                                
4:23:10 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR STEVENS asked  if he would provide a chart  for Europe that                                                               
shows the seafood  imports and change in values like  the ones he                                                               
provided for Japan, Russia, and China.                                                                                          
MR. TINNING agreed to provide the information.                                                                                  
4:23:37 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR MICCICHE  asked him to  follow up with  suggestions about                                                               
what  the legislature  could do  to  help address  the fact  that                                                               
Alaska seafood has been so  invisible in the consideration of the                                                               
effects of tariffs.                                                                                                             
CHAIR STEVENS committed to pursue the issue.                                                                                    
MR. TINNING  said he would  conclude the presentation  by talking                                                               
about what he observed about the  dynamics of the Trump and Biden                                                               
administrations  to set  the stage  to collectively  engage going                                                               
MR.  TINNING  said  the trade  policy  the  Trump  administration                                                               
primarily talked  about was  for fair  and reciprocal  trade that                                                               
helped U.S.  producers. That played  out in high profile  for the                                                               
steel  and aluminum  industries with  301 tariffs,  which limited                                                               
imports.  The   Trump  administration  went  to   bat  for  those                                                               
industries and seafood  got caught in the crossfire.  In the case                                                               
of China, Alaska seafood suffered  the impacts of the retaliatory                                                               
tariffs, but it  did not get the same kind  of protections in the                                                               
U.S.  market  that  steel,  aluminum,   and  a  number  of  other                                                               
industries  received.  Pollock  imports  from China  are  a  good                                                               
example.  Most  imports  from China  faced  Trump  administration                                                               
tariffs but Russian  pollock that is processed in  China did not.                                                               
There was  never any kind of  tariff on imported seafood  so U.S.                                                               
seafood never  had a market advantage  at home but it  was hit by                                                               
the  tariffs other  countries imposed  to  retaliate against  the                                                               
Trump administration  for what  it was doing  in other  areas. It                                                               
was an ultimate lose-lose.                                                                                                      
4:27:11 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. TINNING explained that in  May 2020, the Trump administration                                                               
signed   an    executive   order    to   expand    U.S.   seafood                                                               
competitiveness. The policy was that  the seafood trade should be                                                               
fair and reciprocal.  A new seafood trade task  force worked with                                                               
seafood  processor  associations  to   develop  a  seafood  trade                                                               
strategy. The  first thing they  saw was that the  U.S. continued                                                               
to  face significant  import tariffs  in China  and Russia  while                                                               
imports from those countries came into the U.S. duty free.                                                                      
The  second  thing  that  happened was  that  while  the  seafood                                                               
strategy  was  developed and  moved  up  the  chain, it  was  not                                                               
finalized before January  20, 2020, and it has  not been released                                                               
since  then. He  said  he  found it  interesting  that a  seafood                                                               
strategy that  was developed over  the course  of most of  a year                                                               
with input  from the Alaska  seafood industry has never  seen the                                                               
light of day.                                                                                                                   
4:29:08 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR KIEHL  asked if he  was talking about the  same executive                                                               
order  that   directed  the  National  Oceanic   and  Atmospheric                                                               
Administration  (NOSS)  to  permit  finfish  farms  in  all  U.S.                                                               
territorial waters.                                                                                                             
MR.  TINNING replied  there were  four distinct  elements to  the                                                               
executive order  and aquaculture  and seafood  trade were  two of                                                               
those elements.  ASPA engaged  heavily on  seafood trade  but not                                                               
SENATOR KIEHL  asked if the  executive order was still  in effect                                                               
or if it was paused in the new administration.                                                                                  
MR. TINNING offered  his understanding that it was  in effect but                                                               
also under review by the new administration.                                                                                    
4:30:27 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. TINNING directed  attention to the picture  of Katherine Tai,                                                               
the Biden administration's U.S.  trade representative (USTR), and                                                               
noted the U.S. Senate confirmed her  on a 98:0 vote. He said that                                                               
while  there are  marked differences  between this  and the  last                                                               
administration  on   many  issues,   there  has  been   no  clear                                                               
indication   that   trade   policy   on   seafood   will   change                                                               
significantly.   The  U.S.   trade  representative's   office  is                                                               
organized exactly  the same way  as the  previous administration,                                                               
which is  that seafood is in  the industrials office of  the USTR                                                               
when it should  be in the agriculture section.  The USDA, working                                                               
with the  farm industry,  has done  considerable work  to improve                                                               
market access for  agriculture, but seafood has  not benefited at                                                               
all because it is in with  industrials. ASPA believes it would be                                                               
helpful  if  a way  could  be  found  to  move seafood  from  the                                                               
industrials section to  the agriculture section of  the Office of                                                               
the  United States  Trade Representative.  He said  seafood is  a                                                               
national industry, but in D.C. it  does not pack the punch of the                                                               
agricultural  sector,  and  on  occasion  it  falls  through  the                                                               
cracks. He invited  any ideas the committee might  have to change                                                               
that situation.                                                                                                                 
4:32:51 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  STEVENS   recognized  that  Senator  Wilson   was  in  the                                                               
4:33:05 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR BEGICH  suggested the committee work  aggressively toward                                                               
moving  seafood from  the industrial  section to  the agriculture                                                               
section in the U.S. trade representative office.                                                                                
CHAIR  STEVENS responded  that the  World  Trade Committee  would                                                               
work closely with the Resources Committee to pursue that issue.                                                                 
4:34:06 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  HOFFMAN   asked  what   the  Alaska   Seafood  Marketing                                                               
Institute (ASMI) was recommending to address the issue.                                                                         
MS.  MADSEN responded  that ASMI  is a  valuable partner  and has                                                               
been  working  alongside ASPA  and  the  Alaska seafood  industry                                                               
generally  to effect  change in  trade policies.  She highlighted                                                               
the relevant letters in the packets.                                                                                            
4:35:09 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR STEVENS confirmed  the committee had the  letters. He asked                                                               
Mr. Tinning if he had any final comments.                                                                                       
MR. TINNING echoed  the comment that ASMI is  a valuable partner.                                                               
He concluded, "As an Alaska industry,  we're doing our best to be                                                               
heard. There is  good coordination and good help  from the Alaska                                                               
delegation in D.C. but it remains an uphill climb."                                                                             
CHAIR STEVENS commented  on the high quality  of pollock protein,                                                               
and predicted that some resolutions  likely would result from the                                                               
4:36:50 PM                                                                                                                    
There being  no further business  to come before  the committees,                                                               
Chair  Stevens  adjourned the  meeting  of  the Senate  Resources                                                               
Standing  Committee and  the Senate  Special  Committee on  World                                                               
Trade at 4:36 p.m.                                                                                                              

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