U.S. Eliminates Tariffs on Nut and Apple Exports to India in 90 Days

tendata blogTrade Trends News

ten data blog27-06-2023

Retaliatory tariffs on U.S. food products, including almonds, walnuts, apples and other products grown in the West, will be eliminated for 90 days when imported into India. The announcement comes on the heels of a state visit to the United States by the Indian Prime Minister.

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack called the elimination of trade tariffs "a major victory for American farmers" and said the move builds on about $15 billion worth of new or retained market access for U.S. agricultural products under the Biden administration.

According to Mintec Global, one U.S. exporter said, "This is good news and allows us to compete with Australia on a level playing field, rather than being undercut on price." It's also good news for the general public in India, as these price reductions should be passed on to consumers."

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Almond imports and exports impacted

The decision will improve market access for almonds, an industry that is currently facing overproduction and associated lower returns for growers. According to the California Almond Board, India has been an active market for U.S. almonds since 2010. U.S. almond exports to India have grown steadily over the past few years, making it the largest export destination for California almond producers.

"We are very pleased that this issue has been resolved so that U.S. almonds can once again compete on a level playing field in one of the largest international markets," said Aubrey Bettencourt, president and CEO of the California-based Almond Alliance.

Apple imports and exports impacted

"U.S. apple growers can now begin to compete and hopefully regain access to this critical market," Bell said. "We look forward to once again shipping quality apples to this important trading partner."

Before the U.S. imposed tariffs on Indian steel and aluminum in 2018, India was the second-largest market for U.S. apples and was growing rapidly. When India retaliated by raising total tariffs on U.S. apples to 70 percent, sales were nearly zero and U.S. growers lost $500 million in sales.

Todd Fryhover, president of the Washington Apple Commission, hailed the announcement as "a major victory for trade policy and Washington apple growers," noting that it puts the industry back on "equal footing" with its competitors in the Indian market. ".

"The Washington apple industry has been working hard to develop the Indian market for our world-class apples, and this will help us regain our lost market position," Freihoffer said. "The implementation timeline is 90 days, which is perfectly aligned with the start of our 2023 apple crop."

Indeed, Freihoffer is under no illusions about the task of rebuilding market share. "The road to gaining market share will be long and challenging, but we are ready to meet the challenges ahead with new and innovative promotional programs," he told Fruitnet.

Modi's visit to Washington

News of the tariff decision comes as Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is on an official state visit to the United States, which includes an address to a joint session of Congress.

U.S. Apple Association President Jim Bair, who welcomed Modi at the White House with colleagues Chris Gerlach and Dianne Kurrle, also welcomed the news.

"The U.S. Apple Association has been advocating for this for five years, including a meeting of our board of directors with White House officials in March," Bell said. "The apple industry applauds this huge victory for President Biden, U.S. Trade Representative Kathleen Day and Chief Agricultural Trade Negotiator Doug McKillip.

"U.S. apple growers are ready and able to once again ship quality apples to important trading partners."

In a media release, the Washington Apple Commission (WAC) also praised Washington State Senator Maria Cantwell for her "important role" in achieving the tariff elimination.

"Back in February, Senator Cantwell visited with the rest of the U.S. Congressional delegation to talk to Prime Minister Modi about trade issues and highlight the impact of tariffs on Washington growers," the WAC said.

In early June, Cantwell joined Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow of Michigan at a forum in Wenatchee, Washington, to discuss the farm bill and trade with nearly 30 Washington state farm leaders. She also began the day with this letter to the Biden administration, standing up for apple growers and asking President Biden to help reopen the Indian market.

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