U.S. Apple Association (USApple) member Jim Allen, president of the New York Apple Association (NYAA), testified yesterday before Congress urging the renewal of federal trade promotion authority (TPA) to help the Obama administration better negotiate trade agreements of importance to the U.S. apple industry. Allen’s comments came during a hearing held by the Senate Finance Committee, which is considering a bill to renew so-called “fast track” trade negotiation authority that expired in 2007.
“Today I want to speak to you with an industry-wide message, one voice that echoes the concerns of all major apple-producing states from the East Coast to the West Coast,” Allen told Senate committee members. “Our industry urges Congress to support updated TPA legislation so that U.S. apple growers can grow our markets, and supply nutritious and delicious U.S. apples to new markets around the world.”
Allen also stressed the importance to the apple industry of removing trade barriers, stating, “As we negotiate, we must be ever mindful that trade agreements must treat trading partners equally without imposing restrictions on one party and not the other.”
Todd Fryhover, president of the Washington Apple Commission, echoed Allen’s remarks stating that, “Without trade agreements, the status quo remains consistent and is adverse to the principles of free trade. Ultimately, free trade is best for every economy and trade agreements open the doors to increased commerce.”
Jim Bair, president & CEO of USApple, thanked Allen for taking the time to testify about this important issue which impacts the entire industry. “Opening new markets and maintaining funding for critical programs such as USDA’s Market Access Program continues to be a top priority for USApple. The future of the U.S. apple industry may hinge on improving access to foreign markets through negotiation of free trade agreements with overseas customers.”
On a national level, 33% of the 2012-2013 U.S. fresh-market crop was exported, continuing the historic net surplus in apple trade of the U.S. Fresh-market U.S. apple exports were more than four times the quantity and more than five times the value of imports last crop year. 2012-2013 U.S. fresh apple exports of 46.7 million 42-lb. units were valued at $1.16 billion, while imports of 10.6 million 42-lb. units were valued at $198 million. (Source: USDA Foreign Agricultural Service.