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Pressing the importance of all trade on the Donald Trump administration, including imported seafood, will be one of the top priorities of the National Fisheries Institute (NFI) in 2018.
The US seafood industry's biggest trade association, representing close to 300 companies, is still smarting from several of the moves made by the White House and its Cabinet in their first year, including its formal withdrawal from a trade deal with Pacific countries, a lack of progress on a trade deal with Europe and implementation of the Seafood Import Monitoring Program (Simp).
But NFI president John Connelly said trade will remain a top focal point for the group in the New Year.
"We just need to spend more time on the Hill and in the administration to help them appreciate that not all trade is negative for the US," Connelly told Undercurrent News in a December interview at his office in McLean, Virginia. "Seafood is not like steel or autos or something else. We cannot now produce enough seafood in the US, whether it be from wild capture or aquaculture, to feed all Americans."
The US exports 40% to 60% of the seafood it produces, depending on the value of the dollar and some other factors, and imports about 85% of the seafood it consumes. Seafood is responsible for 1,270,141 jobs in the U.S. and imports account for 525,291 of those, according to Department of Commerce data noted by the association.