Exclusive — Tom Cotton Issues Plan to Ban U.S. Importation of Chinese Seafood

Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) will introduce legislation this week to ban the United States from importing seafood and aquaculture products from China, Breitbart News has exclusively learned.

The legislation, titled “Ban China’s Forbidden Operations in the Oceanic Domain Act” also called the C-FOOD Act, would prohibit seafood and aquaculture imports from entering the U.S. market one year after its enactment into law.

The latest data shows that the U.S. imported more than $30 billion of seafood from 150 countries in 2022 with China being the top contributor to the nation’s imported seafood market. The U.S. imported nearly $2 billion worth of seafood from China last year.

Fishermen are pulling nets to catch fish in a fish pond in Lianhe village, Huzhou, China, on December 5, 2023. (Photo by Costfoto/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

In 2020, federal data suggests that about eight percent of $21.4 billion worth of imported seafood arrived from China. Imported shrimp accounts of almost 30 percent of all seafood imports to the U.S.

Such imports from China came even as the Chinese Communist Party has a documented history of human rights abuses, including using slave labor, Cotton told Breitbart News.

“Fishing and aquaculture is yet another industry the Chinese Communist Party is weaponizing for their own gain through blatant abuse and slave labor,” Cotton said. “This legislation will stop imports of this illicit seafood by imposing real costs on the Chinese government and the companies that aid them.”

Sens. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS) and Rick Scott (R-FL) are co-sponsoring the bill.

Specifically, the legislation would ban Chinese seafood and aquaculture imports until the Secretary of State reports that China is not using slave labor in its fishing industry, the Commerce Secretary reports that China is not significantly subsidizing its fishing fleets, and the Defense Secretary reports that China would not use its fishing fleets in an invasion of Taiwan.

The president would be required to issue a report within 90 days of the law’s enactment detailing the efforts made by the administration to combat China’s use of slave labor in its fishing industry.

Likewise, the legislation would have the Treasury Secretary sanction companies that are knowingly participating in the transshipment of Chinese seafood and aquaculture products to the U.S. and instruct the U.S. Trade Representative to punish nations accommodating such transshipments with tariffs.

John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Email him at jbinder@breitbart.com. Follow him on Twitter here.


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