California Representatives Push for Inclusive Citrus Trade
U.S. & CHINA - This past summer, we reported how the tariffs from China affected the import and export sales of cherries. Now, we have news that California Republican Representatives Kevin McCarthy and Ken Calvert want to save the citrus program by having U.S. citrus products included in the Trump Administration’s latest trade deal with China as well as in any agricultural product purchases made by China. U.S. Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) also joined the congressmen in penning an October 29 letter to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer regarding U.S. citrus access in China, a top export destination for California’s citrus.
“Unfair Chinese tariffs on our country’s fresh citrus, however, have unfortunately caused devastating implications on California fresh citrus producers who anticipate losses of more than 50 percent in exports to China and Hong Kong this upcoming shipping season,” McCarthy noted in a separate statement following the letter.
According to The Ripon Advance, the congressmen noted their support of what the Trump Administration calls the first phase of a trade deal with China, which was announced earlier this month. Under the agreement, Beijing will make concessions on intellectual property, financial services, and agriculture. In return, the United States agreed not to implement the proposed tariffs on Chinese goods on October 15.
“The initial trade deal with China is a big step toward ending Beijing’s unfair trade practices. I commend the administration for its hard work as Republicans fight to ensure that the citrus industry maintains access to the Chinese market, which is essential for the future of the citrus industry,” commented Nunes in the statement.
The Chinese market is essential for most of California citrus growers. California Citrus Mutual reported that President Trump held a press conference on October 11 to announce a Phase 1 agreement with China. Supposedly, the deal documented that China would be purchasing $40 to $50 billion of agricultural products from the United States and would suspend additional tariffs. However, further details weren’t immediately available.
“America’s citrus industry continues to be subjected an effective Chinese tariff of approximately 75 percent. As a result, citrus producers, which are predominantly from California, are experiencing tremendous difficulty selling their products in one of their most significant export markets. The Trump Administration has made significant progress in its ongoing attempt to restore fairness in our trade relationship with China. Along with my colleagues, I strongly encourage Trade Representative Lighthizer to advocate for relief from these harmful tariffs on American citrus as these trade talks continue,” said Calvert.
McCarthy said he would continue to work with the administration to curb China’s ongoing trade abuses and fight for access to China for U.S. agricultural products, particularly those from California.
AndNowUKnow will keep you updated on more news with the citrus industry as well as all fresh produce.