Wilbur Ross is expected to emerge as the Trump administration’s leading voice on trade after the Senate votes tonight to confirm him as Commerce Department secretary. He’s already singled out a surprising pet project: Reducing America’s reliance on seafood imports.
[Megan Cassella| February 27, 2016 |Politico]
“Given the enormity of our coastlines, given the enormity of our freshwater, I would like to try to figure out how we can become much more self-sufficient in fishing and perhaps even a net exporter,” the 79-year-old billionaire businessman said at his confirmation hearing in January.
That would be a big job for anyone, since 85 percent, or some $20 billion, of seafood consumed in the U.S. comes from abroad. America is the second-largest seafood market after the 28-nation European Union, and the U.S. seafood industry runs an $11 billion trade deficit.
One action Ross could take to curb the amount of seafood the U.S. imports each year is to follow through on the Seafood Import Monitoring Program, which the Commerce Department’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration established during the waning days of the Obama administration.