PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) — A new trade deal between Canada and the European Union will not go into effect this Saturday, but the agreement continues to raise serious concerns for the Maine lobster industry.
The agreement was delayed because of technicalities. When it goes into effect, the deal will remove tariffs on Canadian lobster exports into Europe.
The tariffs range from 8 percent for live lobster to 20 percent on processed or cooked lobster. Dealers in Maine would continue to pay the fee to export lobster products to the 28-nation EU, which imported more than $150 million in lobster from the U.S. last year.
Wholesale seafood dealers fear a loss of revenue and jobs due to the competitive advantage the deal would give their Canadian counterparts. One of those dealers is the Lobster Trap Company, which has three locations in Downeast Maine: Steuben, Machiasport and Addison. Their peak employment is 150 during their busiest season, right now, in the summer.
"We are hoping that the tariffs would be eliminated and we would be on an equal playing field with the Canadians," said Lobster Trap Company VP of Sales Dave Madden. "If you listen to the Washington guys for two years, it might as well be 1,200 in the face of this."
It's not known when the agreement, known as the EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), will go into effect. Members of Maine's congressional delegation have been lobbying the Trump administration to pass an American-EU deal to give the U.S. a better playing field.
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