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Murkowski Questions Delay on Shellfish Negotiations with China (letter)

Related News - 3/6/2014 Resolve geoduck issue
No one is questioning China’s inherent right to protect its food supply, but China’s decision to ban all bivalve shellfish from Alaska, Washington State, Oregon, and Northern California is an overreaction.

On Dec. 3, China informed the U.S. — somewhat cryptically, because it gave few specifics — that it was banning all shellfish from Alaska and the Pacific Northwest after it received geoducks that, it said, failed safety tests. Over time, China clarified that it detected an unacceptable level of the toxin that causes paralytic shellfish poisoning in geoducks from the Middle Gravina Island harvest area near Ketchikan, and it detected unacceptable levels of arsenic in geoducks from........

March 7, 2014 - Senator Presses N
English: Lisa Murkowski, U.S. Senator
Lisa Murkowski, U.S. Senator (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
OAA, U.S. Trade Representative and FDA to Resolve Chinese Dispute

WASHINGTON, D.C. – On the heels of conversations with Southeast Alaskan fishermen economically impacted by a Chinese ban on West Coast shellfish, Senator Lisa Murkowski is reaching out to federal authorities to encourage them to follow through quickly on plans to travel to China and resolve the dispute.

Though the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration planned on sending representatives to China this past week to work through issues preventing imports of American products into China and determine how best to address their concerns and open up commercial channels, no delegation has been sent to China yet.

This led to Senator Murkowski writing a letter (attached) to the United States Trade Representative, as well as leaders of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and NOAA, saying:

“It is unclear to me what is causing a delay in sending this delegation to China, and I would like to urge you to expedite the scheduling of this important meeting with [China’s General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine] officials in China.  I also would like to request that you include individuals with the requisite scientific and technical expertise to address any concerns raised in meetings with Chinese seafood inspection and trade officials, as well as individuals with a working knowledge of regional shellfish production and harvesting operations.”

Senator Murkowski closed the letter by saying she plans to continue working with federal authorities to resolve this “vital issue for hardworking fishermen in Alaska.”