India’s tariffs on U.S. apples come to an end, a plus for Washington growers

By: - September 6, 2023 3:04 pm

(Washington State Department of Agriculture)

India lifted retaliatory tariffs Wednesday on imported U.S. apples and other crops that are important to Washington state, according to U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell’s office.

The country was a sizable foreign export market for Washington apples, with $120 million worth of the fruit sent there in 2017. But in 2019, after the Trump administration imposed tariffs on Indian steel and aluminum, the country countered with its own taxes on over two dozen goods from the U.S., including apples, chickpeas and lentils.

After the tariffs went into effect, apple exports from Washington to India plummeted, checking in only around $1 million in the most recent season, according to Cantwell’s office. 

Cantwell was among those who pushed aggressively for the lifting of the tariffs. “I couldn’t be more pleased,” she said in a statement. “In removing these retaliatory tariffs, our apple growers can now accept orders from India and growers could be making shipments as early as this fall.”

The Biden administration announced in June that India had agreed to end its tariffs on U.S. apples and “pulse crops” — which include chickpeas and lentils — during a visit to Washington, D.C. by the country’s prime minister, Narendra Modi.

Washington is a leading state for both chickpea and lentil production. 

Apples are the state’s No. 1 crop in dollar terms, amounting to a more than $2 billion industry, according to the Washington State Department of Agriculture. 

Mark Powers, president of the Northwest Horticultural Council, said the lifting of the tariffs was “great news for apples.” He added: “We’re looking forward to getting back to business in India as our growers work to rebuild this important market.”

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Bill Lucia
Bill Lucia

Bill Lucia is the Standard’s editor-in-chief. He’s covered state and local policy and politics for a decade, nationwide for Government Executive’s Route Fifty and in Seattle for Crosscut.