ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) – Ambassador Katherine Tai, the United States trade representative, and Sen. Dan Sullivan held a roundtable discussion with leaders from the state’s industry/" 1951 target="_blank">fishing industry at Hotel Captain Cook on Thursday.

Sullivan and Tai sat at the head of the table as the group ate salmon and discussed Alaska’s role in the global trade market.

“I like to call us, with good reason, the superpower of seafood, Alaska,” Sullivan said.

This was Tai’s first time visiting Alaska. Over her two-day trip, she was scheduled to meet with Gov. Mike Dunleavy and representatives from Alaska’s Resource Development sector for another roundtable discussion.

“This is my introduction to Alaska, your way of life,” Tai said.

The U.S. trade representative said Alaskan seafood exports totaled over $2 billion in 2021. She also touched on the work being done by the Biden administration to level the playing field for the American industry/" 1951 target="_blank">fishing industry against countries like China.

“A report by the United States International Trade Commission estimated the economic cost to U.S. fishers of illegal unreported and unregulated fishing is over $60 million,” Tai said. “And one of the biggest threats when it comes to IUU fishing we know comes from China, which extensively subsidizes its fishery sector to gain an advantage that is really very unfair.”

In a recent meeting with the World Trade Organization Tai said the U.S. secured an agreement to prohibit harmful fishery subsidies. Both Sullivan and Tai worked together on the executive order from the Biden administration banning Russian seafood imports in March.

“That has been an unfair trade situation during Obama, during Trump, during Biden, and to give credit to the Biden administration, they were the first ones who said, ‘wait a minute, this is really unfair,’” Sullivan said.

Before the executive order, Russia banned many imports of seafood, and Sullivan said it created an unlevel and unstable trade situation. Friday, Sullivan and Tai plan to meet with fish processors in Naknek.

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