Russia May Lose $1Bln Annually Due to New US Seafood Import Rules

© AP Photo / Mark LennihanA customer selects seafood at Hung Kee Fish & Meat Food Market in New York.
A customer selects seafood at Hung Kee Fish & Meat Food Market in New York. - Sputnik International
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Russia may lose annually around $1 billion if the United States enforce in September new regulations on imports of seafood which create artificial barriers for foreign suppliers, Oleg Rykov, a representative of Russia's Federal Agency for Fishery (Rosrybolovstvo) in the US said.

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — Annually, Americans alone consume some 4 billion pounds of seafood.

"These regulations, if they fully come into force, would mean losses of around $1 billion annually, including $270 million in direct imports," Rykov told RIA Novosti.

The official said the Russian Economy Ministry has notified the United States of Russia's concerns over the issue in the framework of the World Trade Organization.

"The US delegation [at the WTO] has asked to present our concerns in a written form," Rykov added.

US President Barack Obama introduced new seafood import regulations in 2014 in an effort to combat illegal fishing. According to the new rules, each supplier must present extensive information on the origins of the catch.

According to Rykov, Russia has tried to clarify an array of issues when discussions of the new regulations started in May.

"We worked a lot through the embassy channels, wrote a request through the [US] State Department…but so far no objective explanations have been provided to us," Rykov said.

In 2015, Obama and the US Congress ratified the Port State Measures Agreement (PSMA) that requires member states to collect certain information from foreign vessels before they are allowed to enter a port or sell their catch.

Earlier, in June 2014, the Obama administration announced its Presidential Task Force on Combating IUU (Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated) Fishing and Seafood Fraud. In March 2015, the task force worked out a 15-point action plan that aims to increase the availability of information on the origins of seafood.

Fishing Giants to Lose Tens of Billions of Dollars Because of New US Regulations

The world’s major fishing nations will suffer losses of tens of billions of dollars because of new US seafood regulations, Rykov said.

"Starting from September, there will be a major collapse on the world seafood market…The largest fishing nations are subject to this barrier – Norway, the Russian Federation, and first of all China that this is all aimed against."

US President Barack Obama introduced new seafood import regulations in 2014 in an effort to combat illegal fishing. According to the new rules, each supplier must present extensive information on the origins of the catch.

"The United States used to sell its [seafood] products to Japan, South-East Asia at higher prices. Cheaper fish was brought in to the US. As a result the share of imported seafood on the local market was 93 percent…They must have decided to do something about that and are going to impose the strictest control measures."

According to Rykov, major fishing states that the new US regulations target, such as Norway and Russia, have strict control over the industry and are not engaged in illegal fishing.

"It is estimated that illegal fishing accounts for $10-20 billion annual profits. But this is actually questionable. Developing countries in Africa and South-East Asia are engaged in illegal fishing, but not major fishing countries, such as Russia, Norway, the United States."

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