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Made with Flourish

The latest export numbers confirm that U.S. apple exporters face tough sledding in global markets.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s trade data shows that U.S. fresh apple exports to all global markets in October totaled 55,672 metric tons, down 19% from 68,666 metric tons the same month a year ago.

Retaliatory tariffs in Mexico and China and a threatened tariff in India have contributed to the sluggish exports, said Mark Powers, president of the Northwest Horticultural Council, Yakima, Wash.

“We have our eye out for the apple industry,” Powers said, noting that Dec. 17 is the next target date for India to apply its retaliatory tariff on U.S. apples in response to U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from India. Implementation of India’s 25% tariff has been delayed several times since August.

“There are discussions that have been going on between the two countries to figure out a resolution but it hasn’t materialized,” Powers said. In fact, India appears set to join other countries in bringing a World Trade Organization complaint against the U.S., he said. 

The USDA reported U.S. apple sales to Mexico in October totaled 13,999 metric tons, down 18% from 17,056 metric tons last year.

Mexico has a 20% retaliatory tariff on U.S. apples, and China has a 40% retaliatory tariff on U.S. apple imports.

“It is very concerning we haven’t seen any relief from Mexico’s (tariff) yet,” Powers said. Better trade terms with China may take even longer to arrive, he said. “The longer it goes on, the worse it gets and the more growers lose,” he said.