Marco Rubio Wants to Ban Importing Russian Seafood into the U.S

On Monday, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., showcased his support of a bill “which would impose a ban on the import of all Russian seafood products into the United States.”

U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska, introduced the “U.S-Russian Federation Seafood Reciprocity Act” last month with the support of Rubio and U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska. Russia banned U.S. seafood products in 2014 in response to American protests of military action in the Crimea.

“American seafood producers have been locked out of the Russian economy for nearly a decade, yet the United States has continued to welcome imports from Russia’s poorly regulated and unsustainable fishing industries,” Rubio said on Monday. “This unfair trade relationship has gone on for far too long. It’s time the United States stop allowing Russian imports to undermine our domestic seafood industry and continue to make clear to Putin that his criminal actions in Ukraine come at a high cost to the Russian economy.”

“Most Americans would be astounded to learn that Russia has unfettered access to sell its seafood in the United States at the same time America’s fishermen and seafood processors have zero access to the Russian market,” Sullivan said. “This is just wrong and hurts our fishermen. For years, I’ve been pressing officials at all levels, from the Oval Office on down, to pursue a seafood trade relationship with Russia based on principles every American can understand — fairness and reciprocity. We don’t have that right now, and Vladimir Putin is benefiting enormously at the expense of our fishermen here at home, with the value of Russian seafood imports to the U.S. growing 173 percent since 2013, the year before the embargo was imposed. The Senate’s urgent interest in sanctioning Russia for its ongoing threats to Ukraine presents a window of opportunity to correct this unacceptable trade imbalance. I hope my colleagues will join me and Senator Murkowski in standing up for our world-class fisheries and this vital sector of our economy.”

“As Congress works on a sanctions package to deter Russia from invading Ukraine, it’s important that we explore all sectors of the Russian economy that we can influence, such as restricting imports of Russian seafood,” Murkowski said. “Americans – and especially Alaskans – have faced a one-sided Russian embargo on our seafood since 2014, allowing Russia’s economy to benefit while U.S. seafood has been harmed. I’m hopeful that after years of pushing this issue, this Congress and the Biden administration will finally agree to equalize the treatment of Alaska’s world-class seafood. This is a perfect addition to a package meant to show Russia that undermining and disrupting global norms will not go unpunished.”

The bill was sent to the U.S. Senate Finance Committee last month.

U.S. Rep. Dan Young, R-Alaska, introduced the bill in the U.S. House. The bill is before the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee.

Kevin Derby
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