India pushes back U.S. apple tariff rise date

February 28 , 2019

India has once again delayed implementation of higher tariffs on some agricultural goods imported from the U.S. to April 1, according to a government order.

The new tariff structure - an additional 25%, which would put the U.S. at 75% compared to all other supplying countries at 50% - was to come into force from March 2. 

Angered by Washington's refusal to exempt it from new steel and aluminum tariffs, New Delhi decided in June to raise the import tax from Aug. 4 on some U.S. products including almonds, walnuts and apples. 

The implementation date has been pushed back several times since it was announced last year. The Indian Government has done so saying it wants to allow time to negotiate with the U.S.

In late January, Todd Fryhover of the Washington Apple Commission told FreshFruitPortal.com that the potential threat of an increased duty by India – which last season became the state's third-biggest apple market – has “slowed interest” in general this season. But he noted there had been improved interest through January. 

India typically imports around 160,000 metric tons (MT) of U.S. apples annually valued at around US$160 million

Tarun Arora, director of one of India’s leading produce distributors, IG International, last year predicted that a 25% tariff hike on Washington apples will clip volumes and raise prices, saying that a 60-70% volume drop was likely.

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