American Fruit Growers Say Latest in China Trade War Hits Hard
Earlier this month, the Chinese Ministry of Commerce announced Chinese companies have ceased to purchase agricultural products. This was in response to new 10% tariffs levied on $300 billion of Chinese goods. These new tariffs are set to go into effect on Sept. 1.
U.S. Trade Representative Office recently announced that certain items were being removed from the new tariff list, while duties on others would be delayed until mid-December.
While this news is good for the overall U.S. market, fruit and nut growers are still nervous as harvest is either nearing or occurring.
Keith Hu, International Program Director for the Washington State Fruit Commission, told the Spokane Spokesman-Review exports to China were down for sweet cherries, but still 20,000 tons were sent to China.
“No doubt, it’s definitely a roadblock,” Hu said. “We don’t want to see a 50% tariff.”
“China is about 10% of the market. It’s a big market, but it’s not critical. We had a good year,” he told the Spokesman-Review. “I just saw a couple apple guys at the meeting,” Hu said. “They are worried. It sounds like they have a pretty good crop, too.”
Ryan Jacobson of the Fresno County Farm Bureau told KFSN-TV in Fresno that California agricultural goods make up $2 billion in trade value. This includes grapes, raisins, figs, almonds, and pistachios.
“When you start talking about that big of a trade partner cutting off significant portions of their purchasing from us, it does affect markets. It does affect it does have some consequences,” Jacobsen said.