U.S. apples look set for improved access to the Indonesian market after the World Trade Organization (WTO) upheld its ruling that the country’s import licensing regimes for horticultural products are inconsistent with its rules.
Indonesia is the largest market for Washington State apples in Southeast Asia and an important export destination for the state’s Red Delicious crop.
The development was announced by U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Robert Lighthizer.
In 2012, Indonesia enacted a series of regulations and import licensing requirements that has hampered access to the market for Washington apples and led to an estimated US$22 million in lost sales, the Washington Apple Commission said.
Prior to the restrictions, Washington apple exports to Indonesia had been as high as US$50 million. After regulations took effect, shipments dropped by as much as 50% in subsequent seasons.
“This is great news for Washington apple growers,” the association’s president Todd Fryhover said.
“The industry has started the 2017 crop marketing year and we have excellent supplies for increased shipments to Indonesia this season. This ruling is also a win for Indonesian consumers as they will have better access to high quality apples from Washington State.”
Mark Powers, president of the Northwest Horticultural Council, which represents the industry on trade access issues with USDA and other government agencies, said the organization was “very appreciative” of the hard work and multiple-year effort undertaken by the Office of USTR to enforce the trade rules agreed to by all WTO members.
“This is the perfect example of the positive work USTR does to keep global markets open and allow our growers to sell 30 percent of their crop overseas,” he said.
The Washington Apple Commission is the international marketing arm of the Washington apple industry and conducts promotions in foreign markets to drive consumer demand for apples from the state, which produces over 90% of U.S. apple exports.