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Today, Senator Bill Wielechowski (D-Anchorage) introduced Senate Joint Resolution 3 (SJR3) urging President Donald Trump, and the U.S. Congress to take action to mitigate the harm caused to Alaska’s fishing industry as a result of the President’s announcement last week that the United States would withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP).
The TPP was a sweeping agreement which contained several provisions that could have been problematic to United States manufacture. The agriculture industry, however, including Alaskan seafood production, stood to benefit dramatically. According to a United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) report, the U.S. would have seen a 33% increase in intraregional exports, and a 5% increase in U.S. exports among TPP members.
The TPP contained mandates for proper labeling of seafood products like wild Alaska salmon and Pollock, and eliminated a 4% Japanese tariff, leveling the playing field for Alaska in the global market. It would have also required all parties to follow international law to prevent over-fishing and illegal fishing; recognized the importance of conservation and sustainable use; and respected, preserved, and maintained knowledge and practices of indigenous and local communities.
Sen. Wielechowski strongly believes that Alaska fisheries need bilateral trade agreements that recognize the importance of natural resources, that promote fisheries management, and that require proper labeling of species. He believes that future bilateral trade agreements should contain provisions that require parties to protect the marine environment, and discontinue trade with nations who do not. These provisions have been an essential part of our state’s proud history of sustainable fisheries management, and must be carried on into the future.
“While I did not support the TPP in its entirety, there’s no question that it would have benefitted our fisheries in many ways. The seafood industry employs more people than any private sector industry in the state. Alaska’s commercial fishermen rely on strong global markets, and the withdrawal of the U.S. from the TPP will harm our fishing industry,” said Sen. Wielechowski. “It is my hope that the federal government will take steps to ensure that the beneficial provisions of the TPP can be implemented independently.”
For more information contact Alaska Senate Democratic Press Secretary, Jeanne Devon at 907-465-5319.