China's extra 10% tariff on U.S. ag imports to kick in on Sunday

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China's extra 10% tariff on U.S. ag imports to kick in on Sunday

China will on Sept. 1 raise import tariffs on U.S. agricultural imports by 10%, further squeezing struggling exporters.

The move will mean cherries and apples will face 60% duties going into China. Lemons and oranges will face 61%, while mandarins and grapefruit will face 62%. 

In addition, table grapes will face 63% and strawberries will face 64%.

China had become the U.S. Northwest's leading cherry export market in the 2017 season. But exports to that market have since dropped dramatically.

Meanwhile, trade association USApple said this week that apple growers are bracing for the new round of tariffs.

“Margins are already razor-thin or negative so this new round of retaliatory tariffs on apples only adds to grower uncertainty as we head into harvest,” said USApple president and CEO Jim Bair.

“Growers are already feeling the loss of exports over the last year due to escalating tariffs. As the tariffs pile up, we’re watching what was an emerging market diminish.”

The U.S. apple industry finally achieved full access to the Chinese market in 2015. In just three years it grew to be U.S. growers’ number-six export market.

Until the onset of trade tensions with the country in 2018, China was viewed as having significant growth potential for U.S. apples.   

New data show overall apple exports for the 2018 crop were down 27% from the previous year. The value of apple exports fell by 22%, from US$1.1bn in 2017 to US$854m for the 2018 crop.

Overall farmgate income is also down 16%, or $588m, from 2017 to 2018. To help ease the loss, the Agriculture Department’s Trade Mitigation Program purchased $83 million of fresh apples this past year. 

“According to USDA, the 2019 apple crop will be the ninth-largest in history, reinforcing the need for access to top apple markets,” continued Bair.

“With exports and income down significantly, and a large harvest already beginning, it is critical we begin to mend fences with our trading partners as soon as possible. There’s no time to waste.”



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