Legislators Concerned About US Withdrawal from TPP

Alaska legislators concerned that the US withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership will adversely impact marketing of the state’s seafood harvest are seeking mitigation efforts on a federal level.

Senate Joint Resolution 3, introduced by Senators Bill Wielechowski, Berta Gardner, and Tom Begich, all D-Anchorage; Gary Stevens, R- Kodiak, and Dennis Egan, D-Juneau, urges President Trump and Congress to mitigate the harm done to the state’s seafood industry because of the withdrawal of the US from the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement.

SJR3 also urges the president and Congress to work to benefit and protect Alaska’s seafood industry.

The resolution comes in the wake of Trump’s decision on his first full weekday in office to formally withdraw from the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership, and announce he would seek one-on-one trade deals with individual countries. Trump contends that the Pacific trade deal was harmful to American workers and manufacturing. But writers of the resolution contend that without that trade agreement in place foreign markets are likely to seek cheaper farmed salmon alternatives produced in Canada, Chile, Norway and other markets in place of the more expensive wild Alaska salmon.

The joint resolution notes that the seafood industry directly employs an estimated 26,700 Alaska residents, more workers than any other private sector industry, and is the second largest sector source of employment in the state. SJR also notes that seafood is Alaska’s largest foreign export, exporting over $1 trillion in pollock, $1 trillion of salmon, $322 million worth of cod, nearly $200 million worth of flat fish, and $141 million worth of crab in 2015.