business news in context, analysis with attitude

In Maine, the Press Herald reports on how “lobster dealers are struggling to manage the fallout from the U.S.-China trade war. Before the tariff, China was the second biggest importer of U.S. lobster, buying $128.5 million worth of it in 2017. The U.S. was on track to double its lobster sales to China before the tariff initiated by President Trump hit in July, according to trade data. Since then, U.S. lobster exports have all but dried up.”

The story goes on to point out that “at no time is the loss of the China market felt more keenly than at Lunar New Year, when China’s appetite for U.S. lobster had been strongest. Lobster is often served on Lunar New Year’s Eve, when families make elaborate feasts full of food that represents what they seek in the coming year, such as wealth and good fortune.

“In 2018, China imported $23.5 million of U.S. lobster in February — more than at any other time of the year, and more than most countries buy in a calendar year. Stephanie Nadeau, a live lobster dealer from Arundel who used to sell $100,000 of lobster a day to China, has not sold a single holiday lobster to China this year.”

One approach to dealing with the Chinese trade war - build business in other Asian markets, such as Hong Kong, Korea and Vietnam.
KC's View:
Yikes. Have to feel sorry for these businesses having their legs cut out from under them. The question is whether this is short-term pain, or a new normal … and I’m not sure anybody has the answer to that one, or whether the pain will be worth it.