( File photo )

With overall U.S. apple exports down 27% in the 2018-19 season, growers are bracing for a 10% increase on apples to China.
The increase, which begins Sept. 1, brings total tariffs on U.S. apples to China to 60%, according to the U.S. Apple Association, Falls Church, Va.

“Margins are already razor-thin or negative so this new round of retaliatory tariffs on apples only adds to grower uncertainty as we head into harvest,” U.S. Apple Association President and CEO Jim Bair said in a news release.

The value of apple exports in the 2018-19 season fell 22%, from more than $1 billion to $854 million, according to the association. The U.S. crop’s farmgate income dropped 16%, to $588 million, from the previous season.

“Growers are already feeling the loss of exports over the last year due to escalating tariffs. As the tariffs pile up, we’re watching what was an emerging market diminish,” Bair said in the release.

China as an export market for apples is relatively new, but has grown to the sixth-largest destination since growers earned access to it in 2015, according to the U.S. Apple Association. Before initial retaliatory tariffs were put on the crop in 2018, China represented a growing buyer of U.S. apples, according to the release.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimate the fall crop to be the ninth-largest in history, placing an emphasis on the need for export markets.

“With exports and income down significantly, and a large harvest already beginning, it is critical we begin to mend fences with our trading partners as soon as possible,” Bair said in the release. “There’s no time to waste.”