IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Curbelo Discusses Effects of New Chinese Tariffs on Florida Lobster

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Washington, D.C., July 10, 2018 | Joanna Rodriguez (202-225-2778) | comments

Representative Carlos Curbelo (FL-26) joined U.S. 1 Radio News’ Bill Becker to discuss the new tariff policy placed by the Administration on a variety of Chinese products, including computers, semiconductors, and medical devices, that resulted in China placing $34 billion in tariffs on U.S. goods, such as pork, poultry, soybeans, corn and Florida lobsters.

 

“When we have tariff policies that aren’t targeted — that are excessively broad — that also hurts American consumers and in this case, fisherman and commercial fisherman,” Curbelo said in an interview with U.S. 1 Radio News’ Bill Becker. “So, what we have asked the Administration is to come up with a targeted policy, to make sure we hold the Chinese accountable for stealing our intellectual property, which they do regularly.”

 

The Florida Keys spiny lobster fishery is the most profitable commercial fishery in South Florida, responsible for nearly $50 million a year in revenue for the local economy. Curbelo has advocated against the Administration’s aggressive tariff policies and has encouraged the President and U.S. Trade Representative to adopt a more targeted policy that focuses on holding bad actors accountable.

 

A partial transcript of Curbelo’s exchange with Becker is available below and audio of the exchange is available here.

 

Curbelo Discusses New Tariffs on Florida Lobster

Morning Magazine with Bill Becker

July 10, 2018

https://youtu.be/udJQLBEC8fk

 

U.S. 1 Radio News’ Bill Becker: “Commercial fisherman understandably nervous here. The Chinese have announced a 25% tariff on live Florida lobster heading to China. What do you make of this? They are not happy with this situation.”


Representative Carlos Curbelo:
“I certainly understand, and I think all of us should at least have mixed feelings about these tariffs. Number one, we do know that the Chinese are abusive when it comes to trade — we know that they undermine the world economy, they take advantage not just of our country but of many others, they use cheap labor. I mean, it’s just very difficult for American companies and manufacturers to compete with them. That’s certainly true, and I certainly support efforts to hold them accountable — to try and kind of level the playing field — so that American companies and American workers aren’t undermined by the Chinese. Now, at the same time, when we have tariff policies that aren’t targeted — that are excessively broad — that also hurts American consumers and in this case, fisherman and commercial fisherman. So, what we have asked the Administration is to come up with a targeted policy, to make sure we hold the Chinese accountable for stealing our intellectual property, which they do regularly, for forcing American companies who do business in China to essentially hand over their intellectual property — any formulas they may have for their products, you know whatever it is. But at the same time, to try to protect American consumers and our fisherman, our farmers and others from a potential trade war. When there is a trade war, Bill, everyone loses because everyone ends up paying more for the product that they need or that they want, so we are working on that.

“The other set of tariffs that I am certainly opposed to are those that have been imposed on our allies — on Canada, on Mexico, on the European Union. Those countries do have labor laws, environmental laws, they respect American companies that are doing business in their countries, so picking a fight with them I don’t think is smart and certainly raises, again, costs for American consumers. So, I hope before this gets worse and before this escalates we can certainly find an agreement with our allies — the Canadians, the Mexicans and the Europeans — and find an approach with the Chinese that is targeted, that is specific, and that hopefully leads to an understanding and an agreement that protects American companies and interests and can eliminate these tariffs for American producers like the commercial fisherman, especially this spiny lobster fishery which is so profitable for the Florida Keys. So, it’s complicated, it’s difficult, but I think we can do better that we are doing now.”

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