Preliminary data from the federal government say U.S. lobster exports to China held steady this year, despite tariffs imposed during trade hostilities between the two countries.

China is one of the biggest buyers of American lobster, which is hauled to the shore mostly in New England and Canada. But China placed heavy tariffs on lobsters from the U.S. in July in a development that sent shockwaves through the seafood industry.

Figures from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration say the U.S. exported more than 17.6 million pounds (8 million kilograms) of lobsters to China last year. The agency says the U.S. has nudged beyond that figure through November of this year.

Members of the industry caution the U.S. benefited from strong sales early in 2018, before the tariffs.

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