Falls Church, Va.—The U.S. Apple Association today said apple exports to Southeast Asia have declined by 40% in the last three years. The drastic drop in exports is especially being felt as Chinese New Year (Feb. 1) gets underway. The holiday helped secure a large market for the U.S. apple industry prior to a series of retaliatory tariffs imposed by China. USApple is calling on the Biden Administration to eliminate Sec. 232 and 301 tariffs on Chinese products so that China in turn will drop its retaliatory tariffs on U.S. products including apples.
“There is a long, rich heritage in Southeast Asian countries of gifting apples as a gesture of friendship and good health during Chinese New Year,” said USApple President and CEO Jim Bair. “This tradition helped carve a prominent space for U.S. apple exports for those celebrations. Sadly, this year most of those apples won’t be from the U.S.”
Overall, U.S. apple exports have taken a big hit in recent years. Washington State, responsible for about 95% of U.S. apple exports, is at a 22-year low with only 21.3% of its apples being exported. This is in comparison to what was a 32% average annual export from Washington State prior to retaliatory tariffs being put in place in 2018. Current Chinese tariffs on U.S. apples are at 50%.
“The U.S. apple industry finally achieved full access to the Chinese market in 2015,” said Bair. “Exports quickly grew to 2.5 million boxes per year making China our sixth largest export market. Sadly, we lost the momentum and growth potential due to the confluence of excessive tariffs, as well continued supply chain and shipping issues. We are continuing to urge the administration to find a solution that will ease the tariffs on U.S. apples.”