Federal task force proposals set stage for new seafood trade strategy

August 6, 2020

A new federal task force has submitted recommendations that will be the basis for a strategy to help level the playing field for the U.S. seafood exporters and importers when doing business with other countries.   

Seafood market presents a wide variety of dining options.

Yesterday, as required by the Presidential Executive Order on Promoting American Seafood Competitiveness and Economic Growth, the Interagency Seafood Trade Task Force (co-chaired by the Department of Commerce and the office of the U.S. Trade Representative) submitted their recommendations to the office of the U.S. Trade Representative.  

The recommendations are intended to support fair market access for U.S. seafood products through trade policy and negotiations. The task force drew on their extensive work on this issue and took into account all of the submitted public comments.  

As a large seafood-consuming and fishing nation, it is critical that the United States take an active role in shaping the conservation and management regimes of international fisheries. The United States works to meet the demand of U.S. consumers that imported seafood be safe, legal, and sustainable and that demand and confidence in U.S. seafood remain high by protecting and strengthening the seafood market through global trade.

The seafood sector also plays an important role in the U.S. economy, generating approximately 1.74 million jobs and providing a nutritious source of protein to the American public. Trade in this sector is vital, as the U.S. is the largest importer and fifth largest exporter of seafood. The U.S. currently imports more than 85% of the seafood it consumes.

The U.S. also aims to level the playing field for U.S. fishermen who operate in some of the most sustainably managed and collaboratively regulated fisheries in the world by engaging other nations internationally, both directly and through various fisheries and intergovernmental organizations.

The next steps in this deliberative process is for the office of the U.S. Trade Representative, in consultation with other federal agencies and advisory boards, to develop and submit a comprehensive interagency seafood trade strategy to the White House by November 3, 2020.