China’s largest fish manufacturer has been ordered to pay more than $2 million in fines for not complying with environmental standards in a major trade dispute with the United States.
China’s state-owned CNOOC, which makes fish and seafood, said in March it would stop producing its products in the United State unless the country’s Commerce Ministry could approve its export to the US.
The ban on CNOOGs exports to the United Sates was put in place in response to the 2016 Exxon Valdez oil spill that killed 11 people and damaged oil tankers in the Gulf of Mexico.
The ban was imposed after CNOIC said in February it had not produced enough seafood for domestic consumption in the US since 2005.
CNOOC said it was not the first time it had been fined for not meeting standards, but that it was the first case in which it was fined more than twice for a single offense.
“This case is the first where we have had two fines for the same offense,” said China’s state media.
A CNOOT spokesman said the fine for this year’s case would be adjusted to reflect the current price of seafood in the U.S. A CNOOO spokesman said he could not comment on the details of the case because it was still being reviewed.
The fine was issued last month after CNE reported that it had imported about half its seafood from CNOOW in China, a move that was the subject of a complaint lodged by the American Civil Liberties Union.
In a statement on Wednesday, the American Federation of Government Employees Union said it had filed a petition with the US International Trade Commission against the import of CNOACs seafood from China and CNOO products from China.
CNOECs seafood has been a major source of seafood imports into the United Kingdom since the 1980s, and its products have been linked to the pollution of waterways and the production of PCBs, a toxic substance used in PCBs manufacturing.
The group said CNOE’s Seafood & Marine Seafoods, which sells seafood products in more than a dozen countries, should stop importing seafood from the country.
The American Federation for Public Education (AFPE) said it plans to bring a complaint to the WTO, an international trade body, and is calling on the US and Chinese governments to uphold the rule of law.
“The Trump administration’s attacks on CNE and the American Government have made this case one of the biggest challenges to our nation’s fisheries and food security,” AFPE Secretary-Treasurer Tom Wilkins said in a statement.
US Senator Patty Murray, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said CNE’s decision to stop exporting seafood products to China and the United Arab Emirates was a victory for consumers and for the environment.
“If this is a win for the American people, the Chinese Government, and our allies, we are grateful,” Murray said.
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