Washington state Democratic Senator Maria Cantwell said she is behind President Biden's ban prohibiting seafood of "Russian Federation origin" as part of the US response to Russia's unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.
Biden announced March 11 that the United States will ban imports of Russian seafood as well as strip most favored nation status from Russia as part of its response over the unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.
Cantwell, speaking to IntraFish at Seattle's Northwest Seaport Alliance's Terminal 46 last week, said the move to strip Russia of most favored nation status in particular was a critical part of the pressure campaign on the country.
"This whole effort of Russia no longer being part of our most favored nation status is an important aspect," Cantwell said of the ban, which is set to go in effect Friday.
Most favored nation is a status accorded by one state to another in international trade. The country in receipt of the status should receive trade advantages as a most favored nation such as low tariffs or high import quotas.
Nations that have been accorded this status may not be treated less advantageously than any other.
The US ban was issued earlier this month in coordination with the European Union and the Group of Seven (G7) countries.
Biden's move was also backed by Alaska Republican lawmakers Dan Sullivan and Lisa Murkowski, who introduced their own legislation ahead of Biden's executive order that asked Congress to ban seafood from Russia.
“In Alaska, where we produce more than 60 percent of US seafood, Russia competes directly with some of our most valuable species, such as salmon, crab, and pollock, using inferior sustainability and processing practices," said Murkowski.
US seafood industry trade groups are also largely backing Biden's move to ban Russian seafood but remain concerned it will not be enough to stop all seafood originating from Russia.
US lawmakers and seafood industry leaders have also pointed to trade restrictions enacted by Russia in 2014 barring US seafood products as another reason for the United States instituting the ban. Russia represented a roughly $60 million (€53.7 million) market for Alaska seafood prior to the 2014 ban.
Russia was the eighth-largest direct seafood exporter by value to the United States in 2021 at $1.2 billion (€1.1 billion). The main products were snow crab, king crab, and cod, according to McKinley Management Consultant Heather Brandon.
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