Seafood exporters wary of Trump's interest in trade agreements


Seafood exporters wary of Trump's interest in trade agreements

Business as usual, at least for now

A shellfish exporter from Freeland is banking on American president-elect Donald Trump not following through on all of the rhetoric expressed during the United States lengthy presidential election campaign.

Prince Edward Island Fall oyster fishermen.

Randy Cooke, owner of Howard’s Cove Shellfish, said he doesn’t think Trump’s election to the White House will have any impact on his company, at least not in the short term.

But Cooke admits there’s reason for concern going forward. “He did say he was going to look at the NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement), so, you never know what the future would hold.”

Cooke said his company ships extensively into the States – mostly oysters – and he said the Prince Edward Island and Malpeque oyster is a popular choice there.

“A lot of people like having different kinds and they like our brand,” he said.

Alberton Fisheries president, Doug Fraser agreed he doesn’t expect any trade changes right away.

“He’s told the world when they come negotiating now it may be a little different form of negotiating trades. It’s no given,” Fraser acknowledged, but he stressed Canada has grown less dependent on sales to the States. “The bigger markets are the EU, and the Asian markets are the super hot ones right now,” he pointed out. He suspects some of the product that enters the states is merely passing through.

Re-routing direct would likely happen if trade barriers were put up by the Trump administration, Fraser suggested.

While admitting surprise with the election outcome south of the border, Cooke wouldn’t go as far as to suggest he would have breathed any easier if the outcome had been different.

“There were a lot of things (President-elect Trump) said, and I can’t imagine them all coming to pass. I don’t see all that happening.

“We’re a good trade partner with the US,” he added, “and hopefully that will continue to go the way it is. For us, that would be great.”

Source: Seafood