Last month, India announced increased tariffs on 28 U.S. exports including apples, almonds, and walnuts. With these increased tariffs, the U.S. apple, almond, and walnut industries are facing an uphill climb as India is a growing market.
Apple exports alone were subject to 70% tariffs, up from 50%. India in 2017 was the second-largest market for U.S. apples and Indian purchases of U.S. apples are down 67% this year because of the tariffs, according to figures from the U.S. Apple Association.
“Washington exports one-third of its fresh apple crop and accounts for 90% to 95% of all U.S. apple exports,” said Toni Lynn Adams, Communications Outreach Coordinator for the Washington Apple Commission. “India is a valued market for Washington apples and is on average, Washington’s No. 3 export market. India is a strong ‘Red Delicious’ market, which is Washington’s highest produced variety. In the 2017-2018 season, 8 million boxes were exported to India and 7 million were ‘Red Delicious.’ With a smaller crop volume this season and a potential tariff increase disrupting the market throughout the year, season-to-date exports to India are down 67.3%. It is disappointing to hear that another barrier to trade has been enacted on apples. We are hopeful for a resolution before the start of the upcoming season.”
For almonds, India was the second-largest export market last shipping season, and exports to India has helped bridge the gap from trade instability in China.
“We are disappointed that the government of India decided to move forward with the implementation of retaliatory tariffs and concerned about the impact it will have on California almond shippers and Indian buyers. With the ongoing trade situation in China, India has been absorbing more of the in-shell variety that is available on the market,” read a statement from the Almond Board of California. “This shipping season, India is up more than 10% and is our No. 1 export destination. With increasing production in California, an uncertain trade environment disrupts our ability to grow demand ahead of supply, paving the way for some of our competitors to take advantage of our long-term market development and investment efforts. Consumer demand for California almonds is high in India for the same reasons the demand is high globally.”
India has been a promising market for California walnuts, and the additional tariffs to in-shell walnuts will be a 120% tariff rate.
“The California Walnut Commission is extremely disappointed by the decision of the government of India to implement a 20% retaliatory tariff on imported in-shell walnuts. India has been one of the California walnut industry’s most promising developing markets. To date, total walnut shipments to India have dropped 54% due to prior tariff action, and the decision to increase tariffs for in-shell walnuts to 120% effective tariff rate puts the industry on course for an even more damaging drop,” the California Walnut Commission said in a statement. “We are hopeful that upcoming discussions between the U.S. and India will result in relief, and our industry seeks permanent resolution to the ongoing trade disruptions in India. California walnuts are at a significant disadvantage to other producers now entering the market; however, no market stands alone. India’s move has ramifications for global walnut trade.”