India Imposes Tariff on Apples
U.S. and INDIA - It seems it wasn’t long enough ago that apples got caught in the crossfire of trade wars between China and the U.S., as well as Mexico, yet one of the staples of the fruit basket is again a target in trade. India announced June 15 it would impose a new 20 percent tariff on U.S. apples, as well as 27 other products such as almonds, walnuts, and lentils, as reported by United Press International (UPI).
India, however, has been rapidly climbing the ranks in being one of the U.S. apple’s top importers in recent years, beating out Canada last year for the first time to claim second place on the list. The country imported some 320 million pounds, according to UPI, before coming to a halt with this latest announcement.
"When they made that announcement, there was a rush to get fruit into the market before the cost went up. So, all that fruit flooded the market, and it really disrupted the market," Toni Lynn Adams, a spokeswoman for the Washington Apple Commission, told the news source, explaining that because upward of 25 percent of U.S. apples come from Washington State, it impacts those growers significantly. Though it isn’t just Washington, of course.
"India was exploding as a market for imported apples. Then, when the tariffs went into effect, it fell off the cliff," Jim Bair, the President and CEO of the U.S. Apple Association, said.
Mac Riggan, Director of Marketing for Chelan Fresh, shared with me that India already had a 50 percent tariff in place which this 20 percent will be added to.
“What concerns me is that as you lose those sales, people can forget about your item, and those are the sales you can never get back. So if the Indian market decides to go to French apples or switch to oranges that might be cheaper, they may not look back to American apples. The consumer will always find their own way to fill a gap. It has been a big market for Red Delicious for the industry. What I’d like to see is for the tariff to go away completely and possibly pave the way for the club varieties that Indian consumers would most certainly enjoy. It’s a huge market that now has a massive tariff, so while I am concerned about the loss of current business, I’m more concerned about losing our ability to innovate in what I think is potentially a massive U.S. apple market,” he shared.
It’s perhaps an unfortunate marker of the U.S. apple’s growing popularity—as Mac pointed out, a small category won’t make waves. As we hope for a quick resolution and, perhaps, room for new possibilities in the apple realm as well, AndNowUKnow will continue to bring you the latest.