apples on tree

Apples hang on a tree, awaiting the picker's hand.

WASHINGTON, D.C. –Rep. Dan Newhouse, R-4th District, is asking U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to elevate Washington apple access in India by reducing tariff rates for U.S. apple growers.

“Washington state is the largest apple-producing state in the country, totaling $2.4 billion annually, and our apple growers are shouldering significant economic losses estimated in the hundreds of millions of dollars as a result of various (World Trade Organization) illegal retaliatory actions of India, Mexico and the People’s Republic of China,” Newhouse wrote.

India is imposing a 70 percent tariff on U.S. apples – a 50 per Most Favored Nation tariff in addition to the recently imposed 20 percent retaliatory tariff, and Lighthizer is expected to continue negotiations with Indian Prime Minister Narenda Modi.

“The actions by India to increase tariffs on U.S. apples is a damaging situation that will substantially impact growers, packers, employees and the thousands of jobs they support throughout Washington state,” said Newhouse’s letter to Lighthizer. “I request, on behalf of Washington apple growers, that you continue to work with India to find a positive outcome in our trading relationship, including a reduction to the pre-retaliatory rates as soon as possible.”

India has been Washington’s second-largest apple export destination at approximately $148 million in farmgate sales, said Newhouse. Red Delicious apple growers, for example, will be impacted heavily, as 20 percent or more of all Red Delicious apples harvested were shipped to India from 2017 to 2018.

Red Delicious consistently accounts for 48 percent of all exports by variety.

An increased supply of Washington apples in the United States because of tariff barriers could cause a ripple effect within the domestic supply chain, negatively affecting other major U.S. apple-growing regions, he said.

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