Nov 15, 2018Washington state crops, like cherries, ‘hit hard’ in trade war
Between April and September, according to a new report, Washington farmers and other export-dependent producers saw foreign sales plummet by between 20 and 28 percent over the same period last year. The losses stem from tariffs on U.S. exports imposed by China and other trading partners in retaliation for import tariffs levied by the Trump administration.
According to a story in the Seattle Times, the report, prepared by a trade-consultant firm using U.S. trade and census data, was presented at a Nov. 14 panel in Seattle as part of a national “Tariffs Hurt the Heartland” campaign sponsored by U.S. commodities trade groups hoping to break the current trade impasse.
“Among the Washington industries hardest hit in the trade war were agricultural producers, who were carefully targeted by China and other foreign governments as a way to pressure the Trump administration. That was especially true with perishable products like cherries, which must be exported during a narrow 11-week window,” the Times story said.
“Last spring, just as the cherry harvest was starting, China retaliated against U.S. tariffs on Chinese steel and aluminum by levying its own tariffs on U.S. farming goods, including cherries, said Frank Davis, an executive with Washington Fruit and Produce Co. in Yakima and a member of the Nov. 14 panel.
“The tariffs effectively closed off China to state cherry growers, who had to divert their product to other markets, such as South Korea, Taiwan, or the U.S. domestic market. But because these secondary markets were already well supplied with cherries, the extra shipments led to depressed prices and significant losses.”