Possible Trade War Could Impact Washington’s Cherry, Apple Industry

April 6, 2018 10:42 AM

Washington State’s cherry and apple industries are worried its exports to China will be hurt by the growing trade dispute.

On Monday, China announced it would increase tariffs on 106 products, including nuts, fruits and sparkling wines. While this tariff isn’t as stark as the 25 percent tariff on U.S. pork, a 15 percent tariff on fruits would strike a blow to growers in the Evergreen State.

Washington is the top producer of apples and sweet cherries in the U.S., and China is the top export market for Washington cherries that totals $127 million.

“Before the tariff, we’re already facing a 10 percent import duty, 13 percent value added tax, and now with an additional 15 percent, we’re looking at a minimum 35 percent tax on U.S. cherries—that’s definitely a concern,” said Keith Hu, director of international operations for Northwest Cherry Growers.

China imported roughly $50 million worth of apples from Washington in 2017, part of the $20 billion in U.S. farm exports to China last year. 

Thursday evening, President Trump issued a statement saying his administration is considering if $100 billion in additional tariffs “would be appropriate under section 301.”

“I think we’re going to come to agreements,” said Larry Kudlow, chief economic adviser for the Trump administration. “I believe the Chinese will back down and will play ball.”

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