The U.S. Apple Association, which represents a specialty crop significantly affected by retaliatory tariffs, asked President Trump for action on trade issues on the night of his State of the Union address.
Trump gave his speech Feb. 5, and the apple association sent a news release detailing the exports losses the industry has sustained since the administration placed tariffs on steel and aluminum imports to the U.S. on trading partners, including Mexico, Canada and China.
According to the U.S. Apple Association, overall apple exports are down about 30%, translating to a loss of $300 million in trade. Mexico, the leading export market for U.S. apples, has dropped purchases by 23%, and India and China imports of U.S. apples are down 70% and 40%, respectively.
China became an export market in 2015, and apple sales had been gaining when the tariffs were enacted.
“The U.S. Apple Association welcomes President Trump’s State of the Union remarks on the importance of trade, especially as it pertains to the agriculture sector,” Jim Bair, president and CEO of the association, said in the release. “With more than 30% of fresh apples destined for overseas markets, trade policies play a critical role in the health of the apple industry.”
The association called on Congress the ratify the USMCA (formerly NAFTA), and for the administration to remove the steel and aluminum tariffs that triggered the retaliatory tariffs against apples and other agricultural products.
In late January, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced recipients of $200 million through the Agricultural Trade Promotion Program, one of three programs the administration proposed to help growers find export markets to replace losses from tariffs. Through that program, the Washington Apple Commission is receiving $8.46 million, the Washington State Fruit Commission receives $709,000 and the U.S. Apple Export Council receives $197,000.