WINTER PARK, Fla. — The ongoing trade war has impacted everything from the stock market to the things you buy at the store.
- Lobster prices down $2 to $3 a pound from previous years
- Tariffs mean China turning to other markets for lobster
- Last year the U.S. exported nearly 6 times more lobster than this year
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Items like washing machines, for instance, jumped in price as part of tariffs on aluminum and steel.
When it comes to Maine lobster, you may be surprised by a price drop at the register.
Due to trade tariffs with China, Maine distributors now have an abundance of the crustacean, making it cheaper for the consumer.
Michael Lombardi, owner of Lombardi's Seafood in Winter Park, says because of the lobster tariffs, customers can save big.
“Overall we have probably seen a $2 to $3 change from year to year," Lombardi explained. "Where we would get in the $15, $16, $17 a pound range, we have now been able to sell it at the $12, $13 $14 a pound range."
The current price of about $12.98 a pound for a Maine Lobster is about a 20 percent decrease from a week ago. In 2017, lobster prices were as high as about $17.98 cents a pound.
But the change in price isn’t good for everyone. This year so far the U.S. has exported about 2 million pounds of lobster to China. This time last year, the U.S. exported nearly six times that amount. China has had to look elsewhere now for their lobster fix.
“Seems like really over the last year the Canadian Markets, they really captured that entire Chinese market," said Ready Seafood V.P. of Sales Ray Miclette. "What they are doing is coming down to Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island shorelines, they are purchasing the product right from the shoreline, bidding up the price and taking that U.S. product and then sending it right back up to Canada to then ship to China.”
Lombardi says he doesn’t think these prices will last forever, especially if distributors can start to find other buyers for the Maine lobster.
“A lot of those people that were affected exporting to China have been looking for other places to go," Lombardi said. "It might be Europe, it might be other Asian countries, so they are going to find a place.”
The Florida lobster and its prices have not been affected because China was not a mass buyer. The lobster tariff is really only affecting Maine lobster.