Mexico's apple tariff repeal to boost Washington's export season ending
The Washington Apple Commission (WAC) says that Mexico's lifting of retaliatory tariffs on U.S. apples will improve the state's exports during the last few months of the current deal and also sets up a successful 2019-20 campaign.
Mexico announced the move on Monday after the U.S. said last Friday it was eliminating tariffs on Mexican and Canadian steel and aluminum imports it imposed last year.
As well as leading to Mexico removing its 20% tariff on U.S. apples, last week's decision by the U.S. Government also quells concerns that Canada - the state's number-two market - could also implement tariffs on U.S. apples, as it had threatened to do so earlier this year.
"Mexico’s removal of the 20% tariff on U.S. apples is welcome news to the Washington apple industry indeed," Toni Lynn Adams, communications outreach coordinator at the WAC, said in a statement to FreshFruitPortal.com.
She explained that Washington accounts for 90-95% of all U.S. apple exports and one-third of its fresh crop is shipped to international markets.
"Mexico is our #1 export market with 13 million boxes shipped annually. Since Mexico has demand for Washington apples year-round, the repeal of the duty will have a positive impact on the final months of this year’s export season," she said.
"Volume is still steadily moving into the market and will continue to do so. It will be great to end the year on a positive trade note with our largest market, and beginning the new crop year with open trade is an opportunity for a successful season."
In addition, she said it is "reassuring" to see that a provision in the joint statement released by the U.S. and Mexico states that if further trade conflict arises regarding steel and aluminum, retaliation would be limited to those products only – providing some protection for apple growers on this particular trade issue.
As well as having to face a 20% tariff going into the Mexican market and a 50% tariff going into China over the last year, India has also been threatening an additional duty of 25% for the last year, which has affected trade with that country which in the 2017-18 season became Washington State's third-largest export market.
Total shipments to foreign markets have been reduced compared to previous years, partly due to smaller crop volume and partly due to barriers to trade, the WAC said.
Exports to Mexico are currently down 29.3% year-on-year and exports have decreased by 32.7% overall.