Fruit trade could be caught up in trade war
Peak bodies warn proposed tariffs on Chinese products could come back to bite US suppliers
Industry bodies in the US have raised concerns over what proposed tariffs on Chinese imports could mean for their own trade to the People’s Republic.
US President Donald Trump has suggested US$60bn in annual tariffs could be imposed on over 1,300 Chinese products bound for the North American nation. The move comes in retaliation to allegations of intellectual property theft and the desire to boost local employment in the US.
Speaking with the Yakima Herald, Mark Powers, president of the Northwest Horticultural Council, asked what the outcomes would be for US fruit growers and exporters.
“The question is, how does China react?” Powers said. “For us, China is an important export market.”
China is the largest importer of cherries from Washington State, taking 3m cartons in 2017, while it is also a top five market for the state’s apple suppliers.
Should Trump’s proposal come to fruition, economic experts expect China to impose their own tariffs on US products. Fresh produce products would be a prime candidate for such action based on their contribution to the US economy, according to Washington Apple Commission president Todd Fryhover, who was also interviewed by the Yakima Herald.
Fryhover said the apple industry was keen to avoid a repeat of a similar scenario in 2010, which saw Mexico impose a 20 per cent tariff on Washington apples following a dispute relating to trucking.
“We often see ourselves in the apple industry as being collateral damage,” Fryhover told the Yakima Herald.
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