Chinese tariffs could hurt US lobstermen

NEW YORK (REUTERS) - China's retaliatory tariffs on US imports includes something Chinese diners crave: lobsters. That means 25 per cent tariffs on the crustacean as of Friday (July 6).

That could hit American lobstermen hard. Xinhua says China imported about US$128 million (S$173.8 million) worth of live lobsters from the US, accounting for up to one fifth of US lobster exports. The tariffs could hurt the edge US lobsters have over its rivals such as Australia and Canada.

In Beijing, Zhang Xiaquan, a chef who cooks up this lobster paella dish at a Spanish restaurant, said there's nothing he could do about a potential price hike.

"There are no measures we can take. We are completely passive," he said.

But one diner, Ya Wen, says she'll stomach any price hikes.

"If it tastes good, I will still come even if the price goes up by 50 per cent. Because you can't put a price tag on the quality of life. If the food is good, worth the money, I will definitely come."

American lobsters have long had a reputation in China for high quality meat. A five-pound live lobster sells for around $75 at seafood markets in Beijing.