Tariff removal sweet news for Washington apple industry
by Lora Abcarian | March 07, 2010
Officials from Washington's apple industry are pleased with an early March
announcement by the Mexican government that a tariff in place for more
than a decade was removed. The 47 percent duty added approximately $10 to
each box of imported Red Delicious and Golden Delicious apples.
The Mexican government imposed the duty following allegations that
Washington apples were being dumped in Mexico at a cost lower than actual
production. Over the years, the duty was contested in Mexican courts. Last
October, a review panel operating under the authority of the North American
Free Trade Agreement said that it could find no data to support the
allegations of dumping. The Mexican government also reviewed data last
month and reached a similar conclusion.
"We have had 14 years of dealing with this tariff," Washington Apple
Commission President Todd Fryhover told The Produce News March 5. “The
industry is now on the same level playing field.”
Jim Archer, manager of Northwest Fruit Exporters, agreed. “The majority of
the industry [had] really been shut out of the market because of the high
duty,” he said. “This has been a long, difficult period for the industry. This is
positive news for the industry.”
Washington is the largest apple producer in the United States. Mr. Archer said
that apple volume exported to Mexico is twice as large as the volume sent to
Canada, the second-largest export market.
According to Mr. Fryhover, the palate of Mexican consumers is evolving in the
same way it has domestically. The newer varietals are becoming more
popular in Mexico, and they have been imported duty free. With the removal
of the duty on Reds and Goldens, “Now the importer has a choice,” Mr.
Two varieties popular in Mexico are Gala and Granny Smith. “Thank the good
Lord for that,” Mr. Fryhover noted.
Both men agree it is going to be hard to predict whether elimination of the
tariff will result in increased exports of Washington apples.